The Pittsburgh Steelers have question marks at wide receiver without Antonio Brown. Would it be a good or bad decision to bring back Martavis Bryant?
I know what your thinking: The Steelers have had problems with Martavis Bryant in the past. He has been suspended half of his career, and Pittsburgh just cleansed their locker room of distractions.
All of these things may be true, but Martavis was undeniably good on the Steelers.
The 6’4” receiver played in just 8 games for the Raiders last season, but was suspended yet again. However, after taking time to address mental health issues, the former Steelers receiver has applied for reinstatement into the NFL:
Martavis Bryant originally planned to apply in May, but took the time to work to improve himself first. He made himself available for testing for the last several weeks, and now has officially applied. https://t.co/Epp0oLIYDI
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 15, 2019
Bryant’s suspension last year came from breaking the terms of his reinstatement, and he was released by the Raiders. If reinstated, he will be free to sign with whichever team is willing to have him.
Because of his troubled history, Martavis should come cheap, and would be a low risk signing if the Steelers were to give him a look.
Despite all of his shortcomings (and there are many), Bryant was an extremely gifted player with the Steelers. In just 10 games and 3 starts as a rookie, Bryant managed 549 yards and 8 touchdowns on a remarkable 21.1 yards per catch.
In his first 19 career games (just 8 starts), Bryant compiled 74 catches for 1,308 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns on nearly 18 yards per reception.
Bryant was a true weapon as a deep threat – something the Steelers may not currently have on their team. He will still be just 27 years old for almost the entire 2019 season, and he has a lot of good football left to play if he can keep his head on straight.
Paring Martavis Bryant with JuJu Smith-Schuster could be a lethal one-two punch of physicality and speed at the wide receiver position. The Steelers are in a Super Bowl window in the final years of Ben Roethlisberger, and should try to get him as much help as possible.
Obviously, I don’t think this is something that would ever come to fruition. The Steelers have invested a lot of time into Martavis, and it didn’t end up working out in Pittsburgh the first time around.
However, there is no denying his freakish combination of size and speed at the wide receiver position. If I knew he wasn’t going to be a distraction or a head case, I would take him back instantly for the Steelers.
Some of Ben Roethlisberger’s best statistical seasons came with Martavis Bryant stretching the defense. They could use that type of player once again, but he is not likely the answer the Steelers are looking for in Pittsburgh.