When Dez Bryant suffered a torn Achilles on the last play of practice Friday, he lost his opportunity to play for a contender, reach a Super Bowl, and make himself even more valuable during free agency this winter -- all part of his grand plan when he signed with the New Orleans Saints.
The season-ending injury will cost Bryant money next offseason. No team is expected to pay Bryant what he was hoping to make, though it's possible he can land an incentive-laden deal that would boost his value if he returns strong from the injury.
"Dez will have a tough rehabilitation," predicted a doctor who has worked with NFL players attempting to come back from the same injury. "Achilles is tough, even if the torn surgery is tomorrow."
There is some optimism that Bryant can bounce back from this injury, based on recent examples of other players. When wide receiver Michael Crabtree was 26 years old, he tore his right Achilles in May 2013 and returned to play six months later.
Bryant, who turned 30 last week and missed the entire season, would be attempting to come back next year after an extended absence from football.
But according to a recent study in Foot and Ankle International, 73 percent of players are able to return to the NFL after tearing an Achilles.
Bryant, who had been expected to make his Saints debut in Week 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles, could have made an additional $500,000 in incentives for receptions this season, according to a review of his contract with New Orleans.
Bryant would have made $50,000 if he caught 25 passes in the Saints' remaining seven games after Sunday. He would have made an additional $100,000 if he caught 30 passes, an additional $150,000 for 35 catches and an additional $200,000 for 40 catches.