With the Cincinnati Bengals deciding Terrell Owens was ultimately a better fit for their team than Antonio Bryant, Bryant was released. Now that he is a free agent there is once again a solid veteran WR on the market for any team to sign.
While the Browns have maintained they feel comfortable with the youth at the position, many fans and members of the media think this group needs to be strengthened.
This article isn't meant to be a "We've got to get this guy!" type, it is just a topic that I think the team and fans should think about. I wasn't as impressed with his Bengals' signing as most, but I do think he can add a solid option to any team.
On a lot of occasions an athlete moves from one city to another and there is an adjustment period they need to get used to their new surroundings. For Bryant that wouldn't be a problem, he played two years with the Browns before joining the San Francisco 49ers.
Of course, a majority of players and coaches have changed during that time, and he would still need to adjust to that and learn the offense. His adjustment period would be quicker than most though, knowing the passion of Browns' fans and what to expect from the city.
For almost two years now Browns' fans and members of the media have agreed that the Browns need to add an experienced veteran to the receiving corps. Unfortunately, there haven't been many options with the right credentials.
Sure the team signed Bobby Engram, but he has as good a chance of making the final roster as David Patten did last season. I think it's a good decision to bring in these vets who's good days are behind them to help teach the mental part of the game, but who is going to show the young guys how to actually PLAY?
Bryant had his best season two years ago, and has been in the league for nine years. It seems like the perfect time in his career to have him lead by example on the field, and gently bring the younger guys along to take over in a year or two.
As I've mentioned, Bryant was recently cut by the Bengals. For much of the offseason he was talked up as Carson Palmer's second option to Ochocinco, and the best Bengals no. 2 receiver since Houshmanzadeh left for Seattle.
Having expectations like that, and spending all of training camp and three preseason games with the team, he should know the playbook pretty well. For the Browns, who were swept by the Bengals in 2009, the knowledge gained from Bryant's signing could even be more valuable to the team than having him on the field.
There have been many examples of a team signing a recently castoff backup to get information in exchange for an easy paycheck, but it isn't often that you see it happen at a level of this magnitude. A No. 2 receiver should know the offense and the QB well, and it's likely Bryant has been working at this all offseason.
While Bryant didn't last long in Cleveland, many fans have no reason to remember him fondly. But what people forget is Bryant put up a 1,000 yard season with the Browns (2005), something no receiver currently on the roster can say.
As I mentioned earlier he had his best season just two years ago, with 83 catches and over 1,200 yards in Tampa Bay. It has been a while since the Browns have seen a WR with those stats, and for a pass offense that ranked dead last in the league it sure looks tempting.
As Browns' fans and ruthless sportswriters are aware, lack of depth at receiver is a key issue for the Browns. Sure there is plenty of young potential, but at the moment that's all it is.
Brian Robiskie is expected to be starting as the No. 2 receiver for week 1, his career stat line? One year, seven catches, 106 yards. That isn't a whole lot of production. The team is expecting more out of him this season, but if that is good enough for No. 2 WR who will be No. 3 and No. 4? What if there is an injury, who takes over?
While I wouldn't consider Bryant an elite receiver by any stretch of the imagination, I see him as a No. 2 and Robiskie as a No. 3 much more clearly than a Robiskie-Stuckey combination.
I know Bryant has had problems with his knee recently, and I know I will hear things like "If he wasn't good enough for the Bengals why should WE take him?"
I just think it's an option that can and should be discussed both by fans and by the teams front office so what are YOUR thoughts?
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