Dez Bryant still drawing interest from Browns

Dez Bryant might have left Berea without a contract, but the Cleveland Browns still want him on their roster.

The Browns remain very interested in Bryant and they're hoping they can reach a deal with the three-time Pro Bowler in the weeks ahead, NFL Network's Michael Silver reported Thursday on NFL Total Access.

The Browns' continued interest in Bryant makes perfect sense. Despite Josh Gordon's return to the team (although he hasn't been cleared yet to practice), Cleveland has a lack of depth at the wide receiver position behind Jarvis Landry. Bryant is the best option still available on the market with two weeks to go before the start of the season.

Bryant, for his part, seems open to continuing his career in Cleveland. As seen on HBO's Hard Knocks, both Bryant and Browns coach Hue Jackson looked enthusiastic about working together if everything can be worked out. And it was Cleveland general manager John Dorsey who got everything rolling on the Dez-Browns connection when he publicly acknowledged last month the team had discussed the possibility of signing him.

Bryant, 29, was released by the Cowboys in April after his on-field productivity slipped in 2016 and 2017. The once dominant physical wideout hasn't surpassed 900 yards since signing a lucrative extension in 2015 -- an extension fueled by remarkable numbers he racked up en route to being named a first team All-Pro in 2014.

The big question is does Bryant still have the skill to be a game-changing wideout? The tape from the last two seasons says no. Bryant believes "garbage-ass play calling" was the culprit behind the Cowboys' offensive struggles last season -- a problem that ultimately plagued his production. Cowboys coaches reportedly believed they could see Bryant's gifted physical abilities begin to slip as early as his injury-ravaged 2015 season.

Silver reported the Browns aren't concerned by Bryant's recent statistical decline. For a team looking to annihilate the stench of a winless season, taking a chance on Bryant could end up paying plenty of dividends for a franchise flush in salary-cap space with nothing to lose.