In case you live under a rock, reports circulated late Sunday evening how Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant was unhappy with his role within the team’s offense, and requested a trade.
Obviously, the Steelers don’t have to make a deal, but several other sources other than Ian Rapoport, who broke the news, have confirmed this was indeed the case. Bryant has said the right things, and seems to have gotten himself back on the straight-and-narrow after a year-long suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Before going any further, I should mention I don’t feel the Steelers will trade Bryant at any time in the near future. The team still has two years of control over him, and those two years are on his rookie contract. In other words, Bryant is signed on the cheap.
However, if the team were to somehow entertain a trade for Bryant, what would that even resemble?
The team would clearly want to be given a deal which would help them improve their team, while the team receiving Bryant would be adding a tall, athletic, yet still inconsistent receiver to their receiving corps.
Would the Steelers look to get players back in this trade, or maybe just add NFL Draft picks? Both would be on the table, but the feeling I have when thinking about this situation is the team would want to stock pile some picks for upcoming Draft(s).
Are there teams who would be willing to make a trade for Bryant? Absolutely, but, again, the price would have to be right.
Think about a team like the New York Giants, who have had their receiving corps decimated by injury, or even a team like the Tennessee Titans or Jacksonville Jaguars who are contending for a division crown, but could use more weapons on the outside. Regardless of the team, the Steelers could be asking a hefty ransom for Bryant’s services.
But what would be considered enough? If the Steelers were offered a 3rd and 6th round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and a conditional pick in the 2019 Draft, would that suffice? While many would say, “You’ve got a deal” the question of replacing Bryant becomes the next point of emphasis.
Despite the Steelers’ deep depth chart at wide receiver, replacing the potential of Bryant is not easy. Sure, Darrius Heyward-Bey can still fly, but he doesn’t strike the fear of God into a defense like No. 10 on the outside does. While Bryant’s statistics in 2017 don’t jump off the page at you, his ability to take attention away from Antonio Brown is a huge reason why Brown has had such a successful season.
Do we need to go back and watch some footage of the 2016 season, when Bryant was suspended, to see what it was like for Brown without a true No. 2 receiver opposite him? It was a lot of Cobi Hamilton and Sammie Coates...if you recall.
Bryant, although under utilized in the team’s offense, is still a very valuable piece of the puzzle, and that shouldn’t be forgotten. If you put yourself in the Steelers’ shoes, the only way they should even entertain a trade with another team would be to get a king’s ransom in return. Anything less and you keep Bryant and hope his production, and value, start to increase over the coming weeks/years.