FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Bill Belichick might not know much about “SnapFace," “MyFace," “InstantFace” or “Pandarama," but chances are high that if there is something relevant to his New England Patriots on social media, it finds its way in front of him.
So, what say you Bill, about Dez Bryant’s reach-out on Twitter Sunday?
Naw I'm ok.. I rather go somewhere I can show case my skills for real.. if I line up next to Gronk hogan Edelman I'm for sure getting a 1 on 1 match up plus I won't be getting criticized controlled for expressing my love for the game..Washington is cool as well https://t.co/lywVw8QzIa— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) September 9, 2018
This isn’t Bryant begging for a job, as much as presenting a hypothetical situation that piques the imagination: Him joining the huddle with tight end Rob Gronkowski, receivers Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan, and quarterback Tom Brady, among others. Bryant also highlighted his “love for the game.”
That last part is the key, and maybe it’s enough for Belichick and the Patriots to move off their spot and do what they’ve been reluctant to in recent weeks: Bring Bryant to town for a no-frills get-to-know-you session to gauge his potential fit in the team’s culture, and at a position that remains a need even after Sunday's solid season-opening win.
To this point, the Patriots have resisted.
Despite operating short-handed, the only free-agent receivers they’ve had in for workouts since initial NFL rosters were formed Sept. 1 are Brandon Reilly and Kendall Wright. More are sure to come, and other than the media buzz that might result from a tryout with Bryant, there’s no ultra-compelling case to be made against exploring the possibility at this point.
Exploration doesn’t mean signing him to a contract. It’s just taking a closer look to ascertain more information to see if Bryant’s situation might have some parallels to Randy Moss in 2007 – a player whose competitive fire might lead to him being somewhat misunderstood. Put that player in the Patriots’ culture, playing on a modest contract, and maybe it leads to promising results.
Week 2 of the NFL season often sparks situations in which teams are more willing to consider those scenarios, in part because if a vested veteran is on the opening-day roster, his salary becomes guaranteed for the year. Those signed after opening day no longer get that level of guarantee.
Regardless of what happens, if anything at all, the Patriots’ wide receiver depth chart bears watching.
Chris Hogan had a quiet opener (1 catch, 11 yards in 68 snaps), while Phillip Dorsett (7 catches, 66 yards, TD in 57 snaps) emerged as a key contributor. They were the top pairing in the two-receiver set and then Cordarrelle Patterson (1 catch, 6 yards in 16 snaps) and Riley McCarron (0 catches in 15 snaps) rounded things out.
The Patriots and 41-year-old quarterback Tom Brady made it work, and maybe this is what they’ll stick with for the next three games (at Jaguars, at Lions, vs. Dolphins) until Edelman’s return from NFL suspension.
At the same time, Belichick has a history of exploring every possible option to improve the team. Bryant remains available, and he let his interest be known to all Sunday.