Former Cowboys star Dez Bryant remains a free agent, but that could change soon. Bryant is in Baltimore for a workout with the Ravens.
He’s not the only high-profile wide receiver still searching for a team with a few weeks to go before the start of the regular season, though. Four-time All-Pro Antonio Brown, who has received an eight-game suspension for multiple violations of the league’s personal-conduct policy, remains unsigned. The same goes for Josh Gordon, who is seeking reinstatement from the NFL after multiple violations of the league’s policies on performance-enhancing substances and substances of abuse. Veterans Demaryius Thomas, Jordan Matthews and Paul Richardson are looking for new homes, as well.
The impressive list of available wideouts leads us to this question: Which free agent wide receiver offers the most value right now?
NATE BURLESON: There’s still some talent out on the market, but I believe none of those wide receivers can match Dez Bryant’s hunger. The veteran has had some bad injury luck, suffering an Achilles tendon tear shortly after signing with the Saints in 2018, and hasn’t seen game action since the 2017 season. But it’s clear his passion for the sport is still burning inside him, and I don’t think he’ll be satisfied until he’s back on the field playing meaningful football.
JOE THOMAS: Value can be defined as the price paid for something relative to its worth. Antonio Brown’s troubling recent history would allow a team to sign him for a considerable discount, provided they get the best version of him and he doesn’t receive any further NFL discipline (which is a possibility as the NFL continues its investigation into allegations against him). He’s far and away the best receiver available, and is good enough to step into the starting lineup for just about any NFL team once his suspension concludes.
BRIAN BALDINGER: Demaryius Thomas might not have the highest ceiling of this crop of free-agent wideouts, but he’s a player a team can count on. He was one of the New York Jets’ leading receivers in 2019, when he made 10 starts. To be honest, I’m kind of surprised the Jets haven’t re-signed him considering they are extremely thin at the position.
CYNTHIA FRELUND: Dez Bryant’s impact, especially in the red zone, drives the most value of any available free-agent wideout, in my opinion. There’s value not only in his prowess when it comes to catching passes but also in his ability to create more space for other pass catchers. The three-time Pro-Bowler, who is only 31 years old, was among the most reliable and productive red-area targets during his time as a Dallas Cowboy. Add in his experience, and this should result in a shorter learning curve along with the steadiness of a veteran player in such uncertain times. Signing Bryant could mean an already strong team becomes a contender to make a deep postseason run.
STEVE SMITH SR.: In terms of value, I think Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas are the best options on the market. Teams know what they’ll get with these two players. With everyone else, specifically the talented Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown, it’s a fingers-crossed situation.
MAURICE JONES-DREW: The easy answer, in terms of play-making ability, is Antonio Brown. I don’t think anyone is questioning whether A.B. still has “it” when it comes to his on-field ability despite having played only one game in 2019. The concern, of course, stems from the decisions he made that led to an eight-game suspension for multiple violations of the league’s personal-conduct policy. I hope his absence from football has allowed him to focus on his personal growth and get to a better place.