The Oakland Raiders are concerned that Martavis Bryant may be facing a suspension from the NFL, according to a report.
The Las Vegas Review Journal’s Michael Gehlkin reported on Thursday about the Raiders’ concerns with Bryant. Gehlkin does not specify why Bryant may be suspended, but it could have to do with his status as a repeat violator of the league’s substance abuse policy. Gehlkin notes that Bryant did not practice with the Raiders on Thursday.
Bryant was suspended four games in 2015 for violating the policy and the entire 2016 season for a repeat violation. He also was suspended by the Steelers last season as a disciplinary measure.
The wide receiver was acquired by the Raiders in a trade with Pittsburgh during the draft.
Bryant has caught 17 touchdown passes during his career but has only played in 36 games since being drafted in 2014. It’s looking like the Raiders’ gamble may be backfiring.
Martavis Bryant openly stated that he wanted the Pittsburgh Steelers to trade him last season, and he finally got his wish during the draft when he was sent to the Oakland Raiders for a third-round pick. Still, Ben Roethlisberger was surprised to see the receiver go.
When asked about the trade on Tuesday, Roethlisberger said he was “caught off guard” and sounded disappointed with the move.
“When I heard about Martavis, I was like ‘Oh, man.’ I really enjoyed playing with Martavis,” Roethlisberger said, per Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I think he was a great weapon, he helped our offense, did some great things by attracting attention and making plays for us. I was kind of caught off guard, but teams have reasons for doing things. I think part of it was him expressing trade things that we all heard so much about. I think he’s probably pretty happy. For him and his family, if you’re in a good happy place, then good for him.”
The deal with Oakland was really a no-brainer for the Steelers, as a third-round pick is great value for a disgruntled player in the final year of his contract. They almost certainly weren’t going to re-sign Bryant after the 2018 season, anyway. Pittsburgh ended up drafting Oklahoma State’s James Washington in the second round, so its not as if Big Ben’s receiving corps is being stripped away.
“When (the trade) happened, obviously we knew they would try to address that position in the draft,” he said. “I know a little bit about that kid from Oklahoma State, watched some of his highlights. A lot of people are comparing him to JuJu [Smith-Schuster]. If we can get JuJu’s productivity out of him, that’s awesome.”
Roethlisberger and Bryant had some issues last year that they appeared to work out, but Big Ben couldn’t have been all that shocked to see the 26-year-old traded. When players want out of town badly enough, typically teams find a way to make it happen.
The Oakland Raiders added to their wide receiver corps with a trade on Thursday.
The Raiders acquired Martavis Bryant in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers, giving up the No. 79 overall pick to get him.
The Raiders traded with the Cardinals and moved down in the first round of the draft from No. 10 to 15. They took Kolton Miller at 15, and they also added the Nos. 79 and 152 picks.
Now the Raiders will have Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant as their receivers. They just will have to hope that Bryant won’t be the malcontent he was in Pittsburgh.
Martavis Bryant has openly said that he wants a bigger role than the one the Pittsburgh Steelers are able to offer him, but the wide receiver may have to wait at least another year before he can compete for that.
On Wednesday, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert reiterated what we have been hearing for months — the team is not looking to trade Bryant.
Kevin Colbert just said the #Steelers are not interested in trading Martavis Bryant and have not called anyone. Said they have gotten calls but have said they aren't interested in trading him.
— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) February 28, 2018
A recent report indicated that the Steelers are willing to listen to offers for Bryant, which is almost certainly true. However, Bryant is probably more valuable to Pittsburgh at his reasonable $700,000 salary for 2018. Teams know his rookie contract is set to expire and he created problems in the locker room during the 2017 season, so there’s no way anyone is going to offer the Steelers anything of great value for Bryant.
It was only four months ago that Martavis Bryant had decided he wanted nothing to do with the Pittsburgh Steelers and demanded that they trade him. Despite all that, Bryant remained on the roster and could be back again in 2018.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the Steelers are not actively shopping Bryant in trade talks, but they are willing to listen to offers.
“At this point, the Steelers are not shopping him but it sounds like they are listening to potential deals for him,” Rapoport said. “It remains to be seen whether or not they would actually go through with it. He’s a productive player, but he’s been outspoken in the past about wanting to be traded. They’re expected to have some conversations (at the Scouting Combine).”
Bryant is a talented player who is under contract for just over $700,000 in 2018. It’s always beneficial to have players who contribute on the field count practically nothing toward the salary cap, so the Steelers likely have no problem keeping Bryant for another year. While he created some tension with the team last season when he criticized rookie receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster in an Instagram comment, Bryant said last month that he wants to remain in Pittsburgh.
Martavis Bryant has come an awful long way since he publicly demanded that the Pittsburgh Steelers trade him back in October. Suddenly, the wide receiver wants to be back with the team in 2018.
Bryant, who is entering the final season of his rookie contract, told reporters this week that he will not ask the Steelers to trade him this offseason. Why? Because he wants to keep contending for championships.
Martavis Bryant told reporters he wants to be back next year and will be ready for OTAs. What’s changed from mid season? For one, Bryant acknowledges it would be hard to start over and wants to win a Super Bowl here.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) January 15, 2018
This is the same Bryant who said before the trade deadline that he wants out of Pittsburgh if he doesn’t get the ball more, and not much changed after that. He averaged around six targets and just under five receptions per game in the six games he played after making the demand. His workload increased over the final three weeks when Antonio Brown was out with a calf injury.
Perhaps Bryant realized that he has little to no leverage. He’s under contract for just over $700,000 in 2018, so the Steelers would much rather keep him and get whatever they can from him. If he wants a big contract, he’ll have to play well next season heading into free agency.
Bryant created some tension for the Steelers when he criticized a rookie teammate in an Instagram comment, but the two have since settled their differences. If he shows up to camp with a positive attitude, there’s no reason Pittsburgh will look to trade or release the 26-year-old.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are hoping Martavis Bryant can step up this weekend with Antonio Brown sidelined due to a calf injury, but the wide receiver may need to block out some noise from his personal life in order to do that.
Earlier in the week, Le’Veon Bell posted a video on social media that appeared to show Bryant sitting next to a woman. Deja Hiott, Bryant’s girlfriend and the mother of his child, saw the clip and went ballastic, accusing Bryant of cheating.
And there's more…yikes. pic.twitter.com/eGW75SaSNW
— Mark Powell (@jim_joyce_hater) December 19, 2017
Hiott had a lot more to say on Twitter, but we won’t share most of it here due to the inappropriate content.
“I can have anybody I f—ing want because I’m such a damn good woman but A GOOD WOMAN GETS FED UP,” Hiott wrote. “Damn if you know the n—- cheating at least don’t put him on video? Y’all what this look like? (Bell) recording my boyfriend and father of my child basically caught in the act cheating. Thank you!”
Eventually, cooler heads prevailed. Bryant must have had a reasonable explanation for why he was sitting next to a woman who was unfamiliar to Hiott, because Hiott took to Twitter two days later to apologize.
When you're hurt you act on impulse. Im not too good to apologize. It's been a tough week already for me I just snapped. I apologize.
— Deja Hiott (Hi•it) (@DejaHiott) December 19, 2017
People are so quick to point fingers not knowing what somebody has been through in the span of a week that's made them blow up. My prayers are up and Pray God gives me peace.
— Deja Hiott (Hi•it) (@DejaHiott) December 20, 2017
Just want to make a public apology…I acted irrational about the situation. Martavis didn't cheat and I take full responsibility for my actions. I was very immature and wrong about this situation and the way I handled it. I'm sorry and I love him very much.
— Deja Hiott (Hi•it) (@DejaHiott) December 20, 2017
Bryant has already called plenty of negative attention to the Steelers this season, so it’s possible he asked Hiott to issue the apology.
H/T Busted Coverage