At some point Martavis Bryant turned from “As long as we are winning” to “I’m not happy because I’m not a big enough part of the offense”.
I’m not sure when this took place.
Maybe it was during his year-long suspension when the Steelers organization stood by him, giving him a place to land when he passed the NFL’s protocol to return to the football field.
Maybe it was after he slowed on a route vs. the Chicago Bears in Week 3 on the first play from scrimmage and missed what would have been a tide-turning touchdown.
Or maybe it was the deep pass thrown Bryant’s way which he never looked back for in the team’s Week 7 win against the Bengals.
Whenever it was, Bryant is unhappy, and he took to Instagram to voice his displeasure with the team. I won’t get into his comments, just know he spoke about his teammates and it was in a flattering light, but Bryant has gone from reports about being unhappy, to being open about being unhappy.
For a player in Bryant’s situation, he is doing his best to try and get out of Pittsburgh. The most recent report comes from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler which states Bryant indeed just wants to start fresh somewhere else:
Martavis Bryant saga appears far from over. A source on Bryant's social media comments seemingly reinforcing a trade: "He wants out. Point blank."
In this situation, the fact remains the Steelers organization still holds all the cards here. Bryant wants out. Great, but he is still under contract for this year and the next before he becomes a free agent.
So, what are his options?
He could suck it up and continue to play, ultimately trying to improve his stock and ‘trade-a-bility’ in the process.
He could leave the team, which would likely result in the team indefinitely suspending him, but this would do little to help improve his overall “stock”.
He could continue to pout and cry the ‘woe is me’ song while the Steelers continue to stack wins.
In this respect, the ball is in Bryant’s court, but the only way he will find his way out of Pittsburgh is via a trade. Sure, he could follow the LeGarrette Blount path out of Pittsburgh, but I highly doubt the Steelers will just part ways with Bryant, making him a free agent, to possibly be acquired by a team they may face down the stretch.
Plain and simple, Bryant has options, but has zero control over his time in the Steel City.
What should the Steelers do in this scenario? Catering to a player who is openly complaining like Bryant never ends well, but they would also be foolish to not utilize a player brimming with talent like Bryant. While the Steelers are slowly turning into a power running team, Bryant’s skill set could certainly still be used, especially in the red-zone.
The NFL trade deadline is a week from Tuesday, and you could say the team could make a trade sending Bryant elsewhere, but as we discussed last week, would the team even get a reasonable return for a player like Bryant with so many strikes against him?
I think not, and this makes the situation even more black-and-white to me.
Bryant isn’t going anywhere.
I don’t know Martavis Bryant, but if I did, I would have him talk to another former Steelers wide receiver who wore No. 10 — Santonio Holmes. Ask Holmes what it is like playing elsewhere, and for a quarterback not named Ben Roethlisberger. The grass isn’t always greener, even though right now anywhere other than Pittsburgh might feel as it it would be a better situation.
The team has stuck by Bryant throughout his trials and tribulations, and maybe it is time the team ask for some give, and not just take, from the former Clemson receiver. In the meantime, Bryant can throw hissy fits, go on social media and blast his teammates and coaches, but the Steelers hold all the cards in this scenario.
In other words, the next move is on the Steelers’ front office, and only time will tell how they handle the most recent actions in the ongoing Martavis Bryant saga.