The Steelers are desperately thin at wide receiver, and Martavis Byant has recently been reinstated. Here’ why Pittsburgh should look to bring him back.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are desperately lacking firepower on offense – specifically a vertical threat down the field. Johnny Holton was pathetic last year when called upon. He caught just 3 of 15 targets and averaged 7.0 yards per catch. As a result, he was recently let go to save a few pennies for the team.
Outside of their top three receivers in JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and James Washington, Pittsburgh’s depth at the position is among the worst in the league. Beyond these three, the Steelers have just Deion Cain and Ryan Switzer remaining from the 2019 roster.
I know I may be in the minority here, but one way Pittsburgh could look to solve the problem is by signing a familiar face (and it’s certainly not Antonio Brown). Martavis Bryant has been out of football since halfway through the 2018 season. He will no doubt be as rusty as anyone in the league, and there are rumors that he is out of shape and overweight.
In addition, the reason Martavis was out of football in the first place was for another positive drug test. Still, there are reasons the Steelers should have an interest. For starters, there are no more suspensions for positive tests for marijuana. This was the issue that derailed his otherwise very promising NFL career:
No more NFL suspensions for positive test for marijuana; paging Martavis Bryant https://t.co/ASpH59e2Z0
— Raiders Wire (@TheRaidersWire) March 15, 2020
Another reason the Steelers should consider bringing back Martavis is that the level of interest for him will be very low, and Pittsburgh could essentially get him at no risk. With Bryant being out of football for the past year-and-a-half, Pittsburgh may be able to get away with just an incentive-based contract that comes with zero risks to the team.
Though he will need a full offseason of work and conditioning to attempt to return to form, Martavis has raw, undeniable talent and a massive catch radius. Over his first 19 games in the NFL, Bryant managed 74 catches for 1,308 yards and 14 touchdowns (all in just 8 starts).
Bryant is now 28 years old, and it’s a longshot to think that he can revive his career. Though he and the Steelers had their differences before, he’s nowhere near the headcase Brown was. We have seen how defenses are forced to account for him down the field, and his presence would be welcome to an offense that ranked 30th in the league last season.
A move like this is very unlikely to happen, and even with his reinstatement, he may never sign with another team again. However, Martavis has familiarity with Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense. If he can give them a better chance to win during a closing Super Bowl window, perhaps Pittsburgh should consider giving him one more chance.