“I think Dez is certainly going to have some great opportunities,” former Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, a newly hired Monday Night Football analyst, said on a podcast with ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “He’s motivated, and I think he’s going to end up going to the Green Bay Packers. I think that’s a great spot for him.”
Despite his connection with Bryant, however, Witten said he does not have any inside knowledge about which teams are pursuing Bryant.
Witten pointed out that Bryant has just about every quality that Rodgers would love in a receiver.
“He understands how important the quarterback position is,” Witten said of Bryant.
“Aaron Rodgers, he throws that back-shoulder throw so well,” Witten added. “And Dez has great chemistry with a good quarterback that can put the ball wherever he wants. I still believe Dez can high-point the football as good as any other wide receiver in the National Football League. So you partner him up with Jimmy Graham and Aaron Rodgers, I think that offense could put up a lot of points. … I look for [Bryant] to go there and really help them take the next step and get back on a playoff run.”
There’s another important question in play here: Would Bryant be a fit for the Packers?
To be sure, there’s room on the depth chart for another starting receiver. The Packers released Jordy Nelson in March and there’s not a clear-cut third option behind Davante Adams and Randall Cobb, although free-agent tight end Jimmy Graham was signed for his receiving prowess and new general manager Brian Gutekunst selected three receivers among his 11 draft picks.
A quarterback like Aaron Rodgers would seemingly be able to get the best out of Bryant, but coach Mike McCarthy has long talked about the dynamic in the locker room as one of the most important aspects to player acquisition. The Packers went away from their model player last offseason when they signed the polarizing Martellus Bennett, and no one can soon forget how badly that ended. The two sides are still fighting over signing-bonus money.
This isn’t to suggest the Packers should let one failed move prevent them from taking another chance; it should merely serve as a cautionary tale when pursuing a player with a big personality.
It also could be telling that Bryant remains unsigned more than a month after he was released. ESPN Cowboys reporter Todd Archer wrote shortly after Bryant was released that the move was the result of both Bryant’s declining production on the field and what he’s like off it.
At the time of Bryant’s release, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said: “It is certainly visible to anyone who watches our games, watches our sideline, [that] Dez is certainly a fiery guy who plays with a lot of emotion both on and off the field. Sometimes that can be a distraction. It can be a distraction for Dez, it can be a distraction for other teammates.”
The Packers would seemingly have little tolerance for that.
Witten named one other team as a fit for Bryant: the New Orleans Saints.
“That’s a vertical passing attack,” Witten said. “You need somebody that can stretch the field and [be] an X factor, and that’s Dez Bryant. I’m not certain that he goes to the Packers, I just think that’s a great fit. But he’s going to partner with a great quarterback and have somebody that he feels like he can contend for a championship. The Saints and the Packers are kind of the lead dogs right now, in my opinion.”
Bryant, who turns 30 on Nov. 4, has not posted a 1,000-yard season since 2014. He caught 69 passes for 838 yards and six touchdowns last season.