Bryant is just a few years younger, which is why he'd be a better bet as a building block.
Bryant, who turns 25 next month, is just about to enter his prime. Megatron, 28, is already in the middle of his.
We've already seen Johnson's record-setting ceiling. Bryant, as Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said, is just starting to scratch the surface of his immense potential.
Fifty games into his NFL career, Bryant has 242 catches for 3,440 yards and 33 touchdowns, plus a couple of scores on punt returns. Those numbers compare favorably across the board to Johnson's totals from his first 50 games (217 catches, 3,362 yards, 26 touchdowns).
Granted, Megatron didn't have the luxury of breaking into the league on a team that featured a legitimate franchise quarterback in his prime, as Bryant did with Tony Romo. But there is an apples-to-apples comparison between the two.
With Jon Kitna as the Detroit Lions' starting quarterback, Johnson caught 48 passes for 756 yards and four touchdowns in 15 games as a rookie in 2007. A few seasons later, rookie Bryant caught 27 passes for 350 yards and five touchdowns in seven games with Kitna at quarterback after a broken collarbone ended Romo's season.
Right now, Johnson is rightfully recognized as the game's premier receiver. Even Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones acknowledged as much on his radio show Tuesday morning.
"Dez can aspire to be that and has a chance to be that," Jones said on KRLD-FM.
The numbers indicate that the gap between Bryant and Johnson isn't too wide. In fact, Bryant has put up better numbers than Johnson in a couple of key categories since the Cowboys receiver emerged as an elite weapon in the second half of last season.
Since Week 10 of 2012, a span covering almost a full season, Bryant leads the league with 16 touchdown catches. Johnson is tied for fourth with 10 touchdowns in that timeframe.
Johnson has a league-high 1,689 receiving yards on 107 catches during that span, while Bryant ranks third with 1,448 yards on 92 catches. But Bryant caught 65 percent of the balls thrown to him, compared to 59 percent for Johnson.
Want to pick between two premier receivers as long-term centerpieces? If it's close, go with the guy who has the most room to grow.