Playmaker-needy Ravens reportedly interested in signing Cowboys castoff Dez Bryant

Finally, Dez Bryant's market might be slowly heating up. 

After the Cowboys released Bryant on Friday, the rest of the league has shown little to no interest in acquiring the 29-year-old receiver. The other three teams in the NFC East, despite Bryant's clear interest in remaining within the division, don't want Bryant, per ESPN.  Neither the Browns (per Cleveland.com) nor the Panthers (per The Charlotte Observer) will pursue him. Finally, though, one interested party emerged Monday.

According to The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec, the Ravens are interested in Bryant. Bryant ravaged the Ravens as a member of the Cowboys. In two career games against them, he caught 19 of 23 targets for 175 yards and four touchdowns.  

Here's a report that makes total sense. When we published our list of landing spots for Bryant, we ranked the Ravens second out of 14 teams because their need for playmakers sticks out above most other teams. A year ago, their leading pass catchers were Mike Wallace (now in Philadelphia) and Benjamin Watson (now in New Orleans). Though they did sign Michael Crabtree and John Brown in free agency, they shouldn't stop there. For as much crap as we like to give Joe Flacco, the team's complete lack of playmakers has played just as substantial of a role in their recent stretch of mediocrity.  

That doesn't mean Bryant would solve all of their woes, though. Since his last 1,000-yard season in 2014, Bryant's averaged roughly 678 yards per season. At this point in his career, Bryant's days as a dominant WR1 are probably over and it's up to him to refine his route-running if he wants to find a second life in the NFL. He can still be functional in and around the end zone, though. Last year, five of Bryant's six touchdowns came inside the red zone.

As Zrebiec noted in his story, it's unclear if Bryant is interested in the Ravens. He already said that he prefers an NFC East team and if he can't stay within the division, his next best opportunity would be to play for a Super Bowl contender, which the Ravens aren't, and with a superstar quarterback, which Flacco isn't. But Bryant might not be able to be picky. He's entering free agency at the worst possible time, in terms of both his career and the NFL calendar with the juicy part of free agency -- when teams overpaid for receivers -- long gone.

The Ravens do have a recent history of taking on older, past-their-prime receivers -- from Steve Smith to Jeremy Maclin to Mike Wallace to Michael Crabtree. It remains to be seen if Bryant will be next. It's one thing to be interested. It's an entirely other thing to put millions of dollars on the table.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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