Martavis Bryant’s four game suspension has officially been lifted by the NFL. And similar to when Le’Veon Bell came off the suspended list, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been given a brief roster exemption. The team will have until Tuesday to make a corresponding move, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson.
NFL grants roster exemption for Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant that expires Tuesday, his suspension has been lifted by Roger Goodell
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 3, 2015
The Steelers had until Wednesday to make a move for Bell, though the Steelers were coming off a Sunday game that week, not a Thursday nighter.
It is still no guarantee that Bryant immediately rejoins the team, this is still only a procedural move by the league, but there have been no reports to suggest he won’t. Bryant, for his part, is understandably eager to get back on the field, tweeting this out on Thursday.
Today is a new beginning for Marty last day of my suspension get ready.
— Martavis Bryant (@ThaBestUNO) October 1, 2015
Three candidates for release make sense to me. Anthony Chickillo, Dri Archer, and Jesse James. Chickillo was promoted only out of the fear of being poached or as a precautionary measure with James Harrison’s thumb injury. If it’s the former, if the team that attempted to poach him has signed other players at the position (like the Houston Texans, who signed two linebackers) the Steelers are likely safe from him clearing waivers. If it’s the latter, than you can almost guarantee Chickillo will be sent down since Harrison has 11 days to recuperate.
Or maybe the team makes a bold move, discarding themselves of Archer. In a best-case scenario, they deal Archer for a late round pick. I’d be happy with a 2017 6th round selection.
James has failed to dress in the first four weeks, even with Matt Spaeth out Thursday and the team left with one true tight end. Pittsburgh preferred to use Chris Hubbard as a tackle-eligible than James. That speaks volumes to how slow James’ development is. There’s value in keeping a rookie on the roster and letting him travel with the team, something practice squaders don’t do, but it appears there is no scenario where the Steelers are willing to give him a hat.
Expect the team to take the entire allotted time, meaning we’ll find out 4 PM on Tuesday.