Sports columnist Mike Preston gives his selection of who the Ravens might pick in the first round. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun video)
Long before Dez Bryant was released by the Dallas Cowboys earlier this month, the Ravens had pinpointed the veteran receiver as a potential target if he became available. They did the same with Michael Crabtree and wound up signing him a day after his release from the Oakland Raiders.
But Bryant, 29, never had the same interest in joining the Ravens as Crabtree did. Bryant's preference is to remain in the NFC and have the best opportunity to punish the Cowboys for giving up on him. Bryant's public flirtation with the New York Giants has been well documented.
As Ed Werder of The Doomsday Podcast reported Wednesday, the Ravens made Bryant a multiyear offer and it was declined by the three-time Pro Bowl receiver. According to Werder, Bryant only wants a lucrative one-year deal that would give him a chance to hit the free-agent market next year and be in better position to cash in if he has a strong season in 2018.
That contract structure wouldn't work with the Ravens, who while they were negotiating with Bryant, had only about $10 million in salary cap space available and needed a chunk of that to pay their draft picks and maintain roster flexibility during the season.
It's fair to question whether the two sides couldn't have figured something out if the interest was mutual by both parties. However, the general feeling was that Bryant, who remains unsigned, had his eyes on other opportunities and not one in Baltimore.