A recent report came out that the Pittsburgh Steelers would be listening to calls involving the trading of Martavis Bryant. To call that report obvious would be obvious. We all know the story of Bryant. Multiple suspensions linger over the chance of a suspension being a year plus with his next strike. On top of that, the former Clemson wide receiver called out his teammates Sammie Coates, and JuJu Smith-Schuster via social media. Oh, and Bryant did request a trade. Like I said, obvious.
Still, the fact of the matter is that despite listening, the best move for the Pittsburgh Steelers would be to sit tight, get Bryant to play out his last season with the team and try to help them win a Super Bowl. While it is unlikely the team retains a player with such a strained relationship long term, it is the best move the team can make.
Not enough compensation
The fact of the matter is that there is not going to be enough compensation to support trading Martavis Bryant. Other teams see the baggage that the Steelers are dealing with. They also understand that by trading for Bryant, you are trading for one season of a player. How do you know or trust that he would re-sign with you when he requested a trade while on the team that sat with him through a year-long suspension?
Someone would be crazy to lose a third-round pick, and four years of control over a player for one season and the opportunity to deal with Martavis Bryant. However, if Bryant does have a blow-up, bounce back year with the Steelers a huge payday could come his way on the market. There, the cost is just money, no draft compensation.
Two years removed from a suspension and the combination of size, speed and athleticism will be on the open market next season if Bryant plays his cards right. That is his chance. That is also the Steelers chance. The more money he makes the better the Steelers compensatory compensation will be. While it would likely be combined with one or two other small losses, a third-round pick could be recouped. At the worst, it would be about the same that the team could get for Bryant in the 2018 offseason.
Shot at winning it all
So with a strong chance to receive the same compensation in 2019, why not use his last year in 2018 to go for it all with a stacked unit? So what, he is a number three wideout to JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown? That is an amazing third wide receiver. The best part? He learned he cannot really do much about it. The more he yells, the more it costs him in his contract season. If he keeps his mouth shut, puts up big numbers as a deep threat and splash player for the offense and adds a few highlight plays, he is going to get a nice contract from someone. If not, nobody to blame but himself. He knows that and knows that Pittsburgh will give him the chance if he plays ball.
It is clear that his relationship with JuJu Smith-Schuster is cleared up, and the Martavis Bryant fiasco is far down the line of the list of things that bothered the locker room. Remember, the Steelers cut James Harrison, a potential Hall of Fame Steeler. If Bryant was truly a distraction they would not have had a hesitation getting rid of him. However, they knew his role was valuable and continued to use him in that capacity.
The downside to retaining Bryant would be not winning a Super Bowl and seeing Bryant as a locker room distraction. Maybe he does go even more haywire than the year before. The team can just cut him. They get absolutely nothing back and could have taken the chance on a fourth or fifth round pick had they traded him.
It does not feel good, but it is worth the upside. The upside is that his deep threat ability with Smith-Schuster underneath is enough to provide Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger the chance to break records. The team could win a Super Bowl, he could walk, and they could retain a compensatory pick for him. Bryant gets a ring and a deal, the team gets a ring and a pick. Bryant is not going to return to the Steelers for the long term, but he should return for the Steelers in 2018. The downside is worth the upside, and the team should go one more round with the enigma that is Martavis Bryant.