At first glance, this appeared to be a move to add extra depth, but Bryant showed he can be more than that.
The 24-year-old could end up being a huge steal, assuming he continues to develop his game.
He’ll be the No. 2 tight end to enter the season, but is expected to have a bigger role than the past two seasons.
Possibly, the Browns are looking at their breakout player of the season in Bryant.
Believer In Bryant?
During his first season in Cleveland, Bryant saw a significant role, including nine starts.
He hauled in 24 of his 38 targets with 238 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
These weren’t jawdropping numbers, but Bryant was the No. 3 tight end on the roster.
He returned in 2021 and put together similar numbers to his rookie campaign.
That has changed this offseason with the Browns deciding to move on from Hooper.
We have released TE Austin Hooper
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) March 17, 2022
The release of Hooper means that Bryant moves into the No. 2 spot at tight end.
That being said, Bryant should see more targets next season.
He has shown the ability to make plays throughout his first two years in the league.
Now, the Browns are leaning on Bryant to be a legitimate starter heading into 2022.
Can Bryant Step Up?
It’s uncertain who the starting quarterback will be in Cleveland next season.
Possibly, the Browns will be without Deshaun Watson due to his ongoing legal battle.
That means Jacoby Brissett could begin the season under center in Cleveland.
The veteran quarterback tends to lean on short passes, which could increase Bryant’s value.
It’s also worth noting that Njoku signed a massive extension with Cleveland over the offseason.
#Browns and TE David Njoku are in agreement on a 4-year, $56.75M contract extension, per Rapsheet.
— MoreForYouCleveland (@MoreForYou_CLE) May 27, 2022
The Browns are committed to Njoku and will continue getting him involved in the offense.
They could lean on the running game and short passing attack, assuming Watson is out to begin the season.
That could be good news for the value of both Njoku and Bryant.
Regardless, Bryant should see more targets coming his way with Hooper and Jarvis Landry off the roster.
The Browns are going to need someone else on offense to step up and contribute.
There’s a good chance that Bryant gets 50 or more targets next season.
He could get even more than that, but it’s dependent on the health of Njoku.
The front office should get a good idea of what they have in Bryant by the end of the 2022 campaign.
Hopefully, Bryant is up to the challenge, but he hasn’t been on full-time starter in the NFL yet.
A 40-catch season with 500 receiving yards shouldn’t be out of the question for Bryant.
Although, it will be dependent on who is the quarterback in Cleveland.
The expectation is that Bryant can be a reliable No. 2 tight end, so we’ll see if he can step up and deliver.