The New Orleans Saints strengthened their roster for their playoff push by agreeing to terms on a one-year contract with former Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant Wednesday.
Bryant is expected to a sign a contract and join the team Thursday as it prepares to play Sunday at Cincinnati.
The agreement was finalized after head coach Sean Payton had spoken with reporters Wednesday morning, but by the time reporters were let into the locker room after practice, the players were well aware of their new teammate's impending arrival.
"We already had one of the best offenses in the league, if not the best," cornerback Marshon Lattimore said. "This gives us another key component."
Bryant has not played since Dallas terminated his contract in the offseason, but he impressed the Saints coaches enough in a workout Tuesday for them to add him to the roster of a team that was doing fine without him. New Orleans is 7-1 after winning seven straight.
The acquisition of Bryant comes two weeks after the Saints made a trade with the Giants to acquire cornerback Eli Apple, who immediately became a starter.
"Just adding weapons helps any team and I think that's going to help our receiver corps, help our offense," linebacker A.J. Klein said. "Eli has come in and helped our defense. Any time (the Saints upgrade the roster) it gets us fired up but we're ready to get back to work and focus on this game."
It's too early to tell how much Bryant will play or even if he'll play this week. Apple arrived on a Wednesday and played virtually the entire game four days later, but wide receiver requires more mental preparation than cornerback does.
The signing of Bryant did raise some eyebrows because of his volatile personality. He was immersed in controversy throughout his Cowboys career and took some parting shots at the organization after being released.
New Orleans has cultivated a tight-knit team that has been controversy free.
"I don't know Dez personally," tight end Benjamin Watson said. "Obviously I've watched him over the years like you have and I've seen the tremendous athlete and receiver and the passion for the game.
"Early in my career I was told that the job of the general manager and the head coach is to make the team as good as it can be. As a player I trust the front office and the coaches and I'm confident he wouldn't be coming in if the powers that be weren't convinced that he can contribute and help us win games."
Watson was with the Patriots when they brought in wide receiver Randy Moss, who was a future Hall of Famer but had been controversial as well.
"You never know," Watson said, adding that Moss was "tremendous" in New England.
"Obviously (Bryant) he wants to play, obviously he loves football, obviously he wants to get back into the NFL and contribute to a team winning games," Watson said. "We have guys from all walks of life. All we care about is that you be respectful of others and work hard."
SERIES HISTORY: 14th regular-season meeting. Bengals lead series, 7-6. The Bengals won the last meeting, 27-10, in 2014 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. New Orleans won the last meeting in Cincinnati, 34-30, in 2010.