Cowboys Bryant Football

FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2010, file photo, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant reacts during in the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Houston. Bryant didn't mind picking up the $54,896 dinner tab for his teammates. He's OK with being teased about it. The rookie receiver for the Cowboys spoke Thursday for the first time since his rookie dinner became a national conversation, with reactions ranging from laughter to disgust. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File0

If we've learned anything about the New Orleans Saints in the past few weeks, it's this: They are treating this season like it's fourth-and-inches, and they are going for it.

The first down marker is the Super Bowl, and the Saints feel like they are oh-so close to getting there.

It's why they brought in Eli Apple two weeks ago.

And it's why they agreed Wednesday with Dez Bryant on what is reportedly a one-year deal.

The Saints spent the first half of this season proving they are one of the elite teams in the NFL, winning seven straight games after dropping their season opener.

The one glaring weakness in the first half of the season was the pass defense, which is why they traded for Apple.

With the signing of Bryant, they address another area that is a weakness, although not as noticeable because of how well Michael Thomas has played all season.

Outside of Thomas, however, the receiver position hasn't been as stellar as in years past — especially with Ted Ginn Jr. on injured reserve. Tre'Quan Smith has shown flashes, sure. But aside from that, the Saints haven't gotten much productivity at the receiver spot.

Need proof?

The team's second- and third-leading receivers in yards and receptions are running back Alvin Kamara and tight end Ben Watson.

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So Bryant, a three-time Pro Bowler and 2014 All-Pro, gives the team another threat at receiver. "Can't Guard Mike" (Thomas' Twitter handle) now all of a sudden becomes even harder to guard. 

In his eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Bryant had three seasons in which he caught at least 80 passes for more than 1,200 yards. What he brings on the field with his 6-foot-2, 220-pound frame, lined up opposite Thomas, should be a defensive coordinator's nightmare.

Bryant, of course, comes with a small risk.

His blowups on the sideline and off-the-field issues during his days with the Cowboys are well-documented.

Dez Bryant Dallas records
Dez Bryant in the draft
Dez Bryant Throw Up the X
Suspension from Oklahoma State
Legal battles and run-ins with the law

So if you've got concerns that Bryant might be a distraction in the Saints locker room — which is as close-knit as you will find — those concerns are valid.

But a fresh start for a player looking to show he's still got it is likely just what Bryant needs. He knows a good showing this season bodes well for him as he heads back into free agency again this spring.  

Playing with a quarterback as respected as Drew Brees can only help.

And here's guessing that Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton wouldn't have brought in Bryant if they thought any baggage would derail what the Saints have going.

Is it a risk for a team that's rolling, as the Saints are?

A small one.

But what Bryant brings on the field was too much for the Saints not to at least give it a try.

It's fourth-and-goal.

And in signing Bryant, the Saints are going for it.

Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.