The Oakland Raiders knew exactly what they were getting into with receiver Martavis Bryant when they traded for him during the draft. They knew another suspension was always part of the picture.
Bryant, who rarely stayed out of trouble when he was with the Pittsburgh Steelers, seems to be in trouble again. According to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review Journal, citing multiple sources, the Raiders fear a suspension for Bryant. While details were scarce, Gehlken wrote it is “believed to pertain to the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.”
Gehlken said club officials would not comment, but acknowledged the team is awaiting final word on the situation.
What is the reason for the latest trouble?
Bryant is a gifted receiver but his off-field issues have held his career back.
Bryant has had repeated violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy, and that led to him being suspended for the entire 2016 season. Bryant came back last season and while he complained about his role during the season, at least he avoided another suspension.
That didn’t seemingly didn’t last long. Gehlken pointed out that a suspension isn’t necessarily triggered by a failed test, but can also come about because of a missed test. Whatever the reason for the latest reported discipline, it’s looming over the Raiders offseason until it gets resolved.
Raiders took a big risk on Bryant
The reasons the Raiders traded a third-round pick to the Steelers for Bryant were clear. His first two seasons he averaged 17.3 yards per catch as one of the most dynamic deep threats in the game. His 2017 wasn’t as great but he’s just 26 years old and a rare talent.
There’s also a reason a player as talented as Bryant was available in a trade. He’s entirely unreliable.
While we don’t know the details of what’s going on or how it will be resolved, it’s a reminder that the Raiders were making a big gamble by trading a valuable third-round pick for Bryant.
Raiders, Bryant wait for a resolution
The Raiders remade many parts of their roster in coach Jon Gruden’s first offseason, and receiver was a priority. The team cut Michael Crabtree and signed former Green Bay Packers star Jordy Nelson. Then they made a fairly big play for Bryant.
Perhaps Bryant’s side will be able to argue the receiver did nothing wrong and the situation will be resolved in a way that Bryant won’t miss any time. But even if this passes, the Raiders will always be worried about what might come next with the troubled Bryant.
– – – – – – –