A wide receiver long rumored to be of interest to the Ravens has finally arrived. Three-time Pro Bowler Dez Bryant has been signed to the practice squad.
Bryant has been on the Ravens' radar for years, including recently. He left town unsigned after a training camp tryout in August. Now, with the Ravens coming off their bye week and looking for more ammunition at wide receiver, the pairing and timing worked.
On the practice squad, Bryant can continue to get game ready and be called up at any time. He can be activated to play on gameday twice before he would have to be added to the 53-man roster. To make room for Bryant, the Ravens released defensive back Marcus Gilchrist from the practice squad.
The 31-year-old Bryant has maintained his desire to return to the NFL, though he has not played in a game since December of 2017. It's clear that getting another shot in the NFL means a lot to the veteran.
The Ravens reportedly offered Bryant a multi-year deal before the 2018 season, but he turned it down and instead signed a one-year contract with the New Orleans Saints in November. However, he suffered a torn Achilles in his first practice and never dressed for a game.
Bryant's best NFL seasons came with the Dallas Cowboys where he spent eight seasons (2010-17) and had 531 receptions, 7,459 yards and 73 touchdowns. From 2012-14, Bryant had at least 88 catches, 1,200 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns and he made the Pro Bowl in 2013, 2014 and 2016.
A prolific possession receiver in his prime, Bryant joins a Ravens team that is ranked 31st in the league in passing offense. Bryant excelled at making contested catches and red zone receptions in Dallas, using his size (6-foot-2, 220 pounds), strong hands and body control to win one-on-one battles with cornerbacks.
He was the 24th pick in the 2010 draft (the Ravens were set to pick at No. 25 but the Cowboys traded ahead of them and became a key to Dallas' offense from Day 1. With the Ravens, he will get an opportunity to prove he can help a Super Bowl contender while adding toughness and experience at the wide receiver position.