Bryant set to hit the streets?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Bryant had a career year in 2008, hauling in 83 passes for 1,248 yards and scoring seven touchdowns.
That stat line earned him $9.88 million in 2009 as the Buccaneers placed the franchise tag on Bryant last offseason.
But this offseason looks to be a far different story.
Tampa Bay won’t be placing the franchise tag on Bryant again this season, according to Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg times. The main reason? The price is way too high for a soon-to-be 29-year-old wideout who spent the better portion of the 2009 season battling a knee injury.
And even if the Bucs were to make an offer, who’s to say Bryant would want to stay in Tampa? Speaking in an interview recently with JoeBucsFan.com, Bryant had this to say about the upcoming free agency period:
“I don't want this to linger in the media and play out that way. I want to get it done fast. I shouldn't even be talking to you about it. I want a team as soon as possible for me and my family, and to get started and ready for the offseason camps. I'm all about being the best football player I can be. I'm always studying all the great receivers. ... My attitude? I'm like, look at my numbers, my opportunities and my film. Film don't lie.”
The comment “I want a team…” indicates that Bryant may already be thinking about bailing on Tampa Bay and heading elsewhere.
The question then becomes, which NFL teams are in need of a wide receiver and are interested in shelling out the cash Bryant is looking for?
Here are five teams that could be in the market for Bryant’s services:
1. Baltimore Ravens: No. 1 wideout Derrick Mason could retire, the Ravens finished 18th in passing offense last season and quarterback Joe Flacco desperately needs a big-play threat he can target down the field.
2. Cleveland Browns: Their best receiver in 2009 was a rookie who caught 34 passes last season. Nothing against Mohamed Massaquoi, but if the Browns want to fix their offense, they need to bring in some more firepower.
3. Carolina Panthers: How dangerous would this offense become with the DeAngelo Williams-Jonathan Stewart connection running the ball and the Steve Smith-Antonio Bryant tandem catching it? Playing in the same division means the Panthers are quite familiar with what Bryant is capable of.
4. Miami Dolphins: Young quarterback Chad Henne needs a big-play threat (just like Joe Flacco) and Dolphins Boss Bill Parcells loves big, physical receivers.
5. New England Patriots: Randy Moss turns 33-years-old tomorrow and Wes Welker tore up his knee in Week 17 last season. Why not?
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