Receiver Antonio Bryant has suddenly arrived on the free-agent market with a thud loud enough to get the attention of plenty of teams that need players to catch passes.
As we understand it, Bryant’s plan is to get his bum knee to 100 percent, and then to pick his next team.
If/when that happens, plenty of teams should be interested, depending on his asking price. In 2008, Bryant caught 83 passes for 1,248 yards and seven touchdowns under the tutelage of Jon Gruden.
This could make Bryant attractive to Browns president Mike Holmgren, whom some believe is eyeballing Gruden as a possible replacement for Eric Mangini in 2011. Other teams that arguably need a high-end wideout include the Titans, Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers, Redskins, Bears, Vikings, Bucs, Cardinals, and Rams. Given that the Seahawks are (were) interested in Vincent Jackson, they also could be interested in Bryant.
If Bryant can’t get himself to 100 percent before the regular-season starts, don’t be surprised if he files an injury grievance against the Bengals. Even if Bryant was injured when he signed with the team (apparently, the same doctors who recommended Daunte Culpepper over Drew Brees to the Dolphins in 2006 now work for the Bengals), a player cannot be cut without compensation if he is injured. And so an arbitration proceeding could be held to determine the amount of money that the Bengals owe Bryant, based on the number of weeks that pass until he can pass a physical with a new team.
The Bengals likely would claim that they cut Bryant now in the hopes of giving him a chance to land with a new team. And that’s probably true — especially since they’ll avoid any further financial liability to Bryant if he signs elsewhere before the start of the regular season.