It seems like Martavis Bryant and the Pittsburgh Steelers are a match doomed to fail. After reports of trade requests reared their ugly head a few weeks ago, Bryant did his best to squash the rumors. He tweeted out last week, “I am happy to be a steeler.”
But that facade lasted only a week, as in the past 24 hours alone, it seems the Steelers receiver is still extremely discontent in Pittsburgh. This week, he called out his teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster on an Instagram comment saying, “juju is no where near better than me fool all they need to do is give me what I want and y’all can have juju and who ever else.”
Bryant’s complaints seem to mostly be stemming from targets. Through seven games this year, Bryant has only seen 36 targets for 18 catches and 234 yards. Smith-Schuster has been targeted 27 times and turned that into 17 catches for 231 yards.
To make matters worse, Bryant was a no-show at the Steelers facility on Monday:
Martavis Bryant did not show up for required steelers meetings monday. "Called in sick" one teammate said— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) October 23, 2017
So it seems like Bryant’s relationship with the team is tenuous at best, meaning he could be on the trade market very soon. In fact, ESPN is now reporting, again, that Bryant is seeking a trade.
The question is: Should the Detroit Lions make a move for the young receiver. Let’s break it down into categories here.
Fit for a need?
With Golden Tate likely out for the next few weeks, and Kenny Golladay’s immediate availability unknown, Detroit is definitely short on receivers. Additionally, Marvin Jones Jr. has been mostly ineffective in his role as an outside receiver.
Bryant brings all of the physical tools needed to complement Jones on the outside. He can high-point contested balls, and has the height and long arms to make any smaller-sized cornerbacks look silly. With a fair amount of speed, too, he can be the deep threat that Detroit has been missing while Golladay has been sidelined by injury.
Of course, Golladay could very well be that guy once he’s back, and by all accounts, Golladay could be back soon. If that’s the case, I’m not sure how you could justify giving Bryant snaps when Golladay could use the experience. Additionally, Bryant doesn’t really have the versatility to take over Tate’s role in the slot.
Still, Bryant could essentially put pressure on Marvin Jones Jr. to start putting up numbers or see the bench.
It appears like things have soured to the point where Pittsburgh is likely to hand Bryant over at a low cost. With Smith-Schuster already in line to replace him, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Steelers let Bryant go for a fifth-round pick or later. In fact, if things continue to spiral, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Steelers just outright waive him at some point.
But Detroit has already sent their 2018 sixth-round pick to the Rams for Greg Robinson, so they may not want to part with another late pick.
Jim Caldwell’s locker room is defined by its quietness. If there are any feelings of frustration or anger at the team, it hasn’t leaked until the player is off the roster.
In a matter of two weeks, Bryant has called out his teammate on Instagram, his girlfriend essentially confirmed he wanted a trade, and now he’s not showing up to team meetings.
If you created a player that was the polar opposite of someone Jim Caldwell wants in his locker room, it would look a lot like Martavis Bryant.
Bob Quinn and Jim Caldwell have taken chances on players before, like the oft-suspended Armonty Bryant and Khyri Thornton, but rarely have we seen them deal with such outspoken personalities like Martavis.
While Bryant is exactly the kind of receiver the Lions could use, wide receiver isn’t that big of a need on a macro level. Detroit’s offensive problems stem from their inability to run the ball and protect their quarterback. Sure, receivers aren’t pulling their weight either, but in the grand scheme of things, they’re just a small problem.
And when you look towards the long-term fit, Bryant’s role with the team isn’t exactly clear. Tate and Golladay could be around for years to come, while the Lions are essentially stuck with Marvin Jones for the next two years considering his hefty contract.
Bryant only has one more year on his contract, so it may not be a wise investment to spend future draft capital on a 1.5-season rental.
It’s probably worth it for the Lions to make a call for Bryant, but in the end, I think the bad outweighs the good here. Bryant would come in and immediately want to contribute, and considering the offensive issues this team already has, there’s a good chance Bryant could get frustrated very quickly.
Bryant is an undoubtedly talented player, and the Lions are currently a bit shorthanded at the position. However, selling out the team’s future for a disgruntled player at a skill position player doesn’t seem like the kind of move that would give this team the extra push it needs to win the division.
This team needs to improve in the trenches before it starts adding more weapons for Matthew Stafford. And when Detroit has both Tate and Golladay back in the lineup, Bryant could end up becoming redundant.
If the Steelers end up waiving him, the Lions should probably consider putting in a claim for him given his small rookie contract, but otherwise, hard pass.
Should the Lions try to get WR Martavis Bryant?
This poll is closed
Yes, go get him
Yes, but only if the Steelers waive him