New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton knew the bombardment of questions on Dez Bryant was coming during Thursday’s teleconference.
So, he jokingly announced each reporter would have “two Dez coupons” on a call that lasted a little more than 10 minutes.
On the serious side, Payton said he liked what he saw out of Dez Bryant’s workout Tuesday before signing the wide receiver.
There was one exception, however, the Saints want to address based on Bryant’s time away from the football field.
“He’s a little heavy and that’s pretty common,” Payton said. “I’d think probably five pounds without having gone through a training camp. We felt like he did a number of things that we liked in the workout. We’ll begin that process today.”
Bryant, who was last officially listed at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, reported Thursday and signed a one-year prorated deal worth $1.75 million, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Bryant can earn $500,000 in reception incentives, making he deal actually worth up to $1.1 million for the final eight regular-season game.
Payton, though, first wants to see how the newest Saints wide receiver does with absorbing the playbook and practice in the next two days.
“We’ll see,” Payton said. “It would be hard for me to comment not having had a practice yet. But we’ll take a peek and see how he does today and tomorrow, and then we’ll fill you in Sunday.”
And when Bryant eventually gets on the field, Payton pointed out there won’t be a lot of adjustments with offensive formations.
“You know in our system we’ll play guys on the outside, we’ll play guys inside,” Payton said. “Mike Thomas is an X, he’s outside [at] split end, and then he’ll play in the slot. We’ll move guys around.
“The key is what they’re doing and what we’re asking them to do. You’ve seen that, I think, with him [Bryant]. We’re not going to move him all over the formation in the first three weeks, four weeks he’s here. We’ll build on that much like we’ve done with any player.”
With 531 career catches for 7,459 yards and 73 touchdowns in eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Bryant comes with proven production and he provides a complementary piece to what the Saints already have in place.
“We’ll see how much he can digest, give him parts to the plan,” Payton said. “There’s a third-down element, a red-zone element, a lot of different things that we think he provides versatility for.”
Meanwhile, the Saints have the luxury of not relying on Bryant as a focal point of an offensive attack already featuring a foundation of Thomas, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. Bryant, however, can fill a need for a reliable No. 2 receiver opposite of Thomas.
Smith was the first man up after Ted Ginn Jr. landed on injured reserve after Week 4, but Ginn’s 22 targets still rank as the second-most among the team’s wide receivers behind Thomas’ 79 targets. Meredith didn’t record a catch in the past three games and finishes the season with nine catches for 114 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets.