Cowbys Bryant Arrested Football

FILE - This Nov. 6, 2011 file photo shows Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, in Arlington, Texas. Bryant is free on bond after he was arrested on a misdemeanor family violence charge. Bryant turned himself in Monday afternoon, July 16, 2012, to police in the southern Dallas suburb of DeSoto. His attorney, Royce West, says Bryant posted $1,500 bond after learning a warrant had been issued for his arrest. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

Dez Bryant is returning to the NFL -- with the New Orleans Saints.

After working out for the team Tuesday, the free-agent Bryant agreed to a one-year deal with New Orleans, which sits atop the NFC South and is arguably the best team in the league at 7-1, the Saints announced Wednesday.

The interest in Bryant, 30, comes at a time when New Orleans is struggling to get production out of its receivers not named Michael Thomas.

Ted Ginn Jr. is on injured reserve with a knee injury, and Cam Meredith, who was signed this offseason, hasn't played more than 26 percent of the snaps the last three weeks. He has nine catches for 114 yards with one touchdown.

Rookie Tre'Quan Smith has played the majority of the snaps as the No. 2 wide receiver, and while he has shown promise, the Saints could use another viable option at wide receiver.

Dallas released Bryant in April, deciding salary-cap relief and declining production from one of their biggest stars outweighed the risk of him proving the franchise wrong. The three-time Pro Bowl receiver holds Dallas franchise records for career touchdown receptions (73), and he's also No. 5 in career Cowboys receiving yards (7,459) and No. 3 in career Cowboys receptions (531). 

Bryant signed a $70 million, five-year deal after leading the NFL with 16 touchdowns in 2014. But he didn't have a 1,000-yard season in three years under the big contract, and just played all 16 games without a 100-yard day for the first time in his eight-year career.

Bryant and Cowboys Owner/General Manager Jerry Jones had a unique relationship because of the trouble that surrounded the receiver early in his career. Off-field concerns were the reason the Cowboys got him; he slid to near the bottom of the first round of the 2010 draft. Dallas traded up three spots to select him.

Before the three most prolific seasons of his career, when Bryant averaged 1,312 yards and nearly 14 touchdowns per year, he got tangled in lawsuits over unpaid jewelry bills.

The most serious problem was a domestic incident involving his mother in 2012, with Bryant pleading guilty and eventually having the charge dismissed when he stayed out of trouble for a year.

Bryant also was a distraction throughout his career with sideline rants, even admitting late last season that he let frustrations affect him during perhaps his most difficult year in the league. He said some of the frustration was rooted in the offensive scheme.

A dramatic dip in production started when Bryant broke his foot in the opener in 2015, a year after he helped the Cowboys win the NFC East and just their second playoff game since the last of the franchise's five Super Bowls following the 1995 season.

Bryant battled injuries each of the past two years as well, but when healthy he wasn't the same receiver who had the famous catch that wasn't against Green Bay in a loss that kept the Cowboys out of the NFC championship game three years ago. He was second in the NFL with 11 drops last season, according to sportradar.

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After getting 56 of his touchdowns in his first five seasons, Bryant had 17 his last three with the Cowboys.

Bryant never found the same on-field rapport with Dak Prescott that he had with Tony Romo, who lost his job during Prescott's remarkable rookie season after Romo injured his back in the preseason in 2016. Romo was released last offseason and retired.

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

Advocate staff writer Nick Underhill and the Associated Press contributed to this report.