Another Chance at Receiver?

Antonio Bryant

At the NFL Combine, Tampa Bucs head coach Raheem Morris told reporters that wide receiver Antonio Bryant's career as a Buccaneer is over. While Bryant comes with a lot of baggage, he's a very good wide receiver.

Antonio Bryant is set to hit the open market. Tampa originally signed Bryant in 2008 to the league minimum, to which he responded by catching 83 balls for 1,248 yards and seven touchdowns, by far the best season of his troubled career. Bryant was given the franchise tag in the 2009 season. He battled injuries through the 2009 season, but still was moderately productive with 39 receptions for 600 yards and four touchdowns, while the Bucs transitioned by playing three quarterbacks.

The Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiving corps is still in a bit of flux, having released veteran Torry Holt after only one season, but it's full of talented young receivers. Jacksonville just re-signed Troy Williamson to a one year deal, but outside of that the only receivers worth mentioning are Mike Sims-Walker, who finally had a season without injury, and second year slot receiver Mike Thomas. Adding Bryant to the mix could add another playmaker into the group. If the Jaguars are content with sticking with quarterback David Garrard as their starter in 2010, they might as well add as much talent as possible around him. Head coach Jack Del Rio said it himself, ""I think he's a good player, I think we can win with him, I think we have to be really good around him."

Antonio Bryant shouldn't cost too much on the free agent market, as he is coming off an injury and has a trouble past. Bryant was suspended by the NFL in 2007 after a run-in with then San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Nolan, leading to his release, and a failed drug test. Bryant is a failed drug test away from a year's suspension from the NFL, but by all accounts so far has kicked that problem. While Bryant might be a risk, he is no Jerry Porter (at least he won't be paid like Porter). It's likely Bryant will get a deal similar to what Tampa Bay gave him in 2008, league minimum or something close to it on a one-year deal.

As with everything they do, Jaguars Gene Smith will weigh the pros and cons of a move of this caliber. If you're going to stick with David Garrard at quarterback, your best bet is to get him as many weapons as possible. This is a weapon that while it is a risk, could come on the cheap.

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