The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Would you have considered trading Martavis Bryant, and what would you have required in compensation?
I think the majority of Steelers fans who have followed the team long enough are aware that they are very rarely very active in some of the more ‘exciting’ moments of the roster-building process. They don’t make splashes in free agency, they don’t make trades.
Of course, they did some of both this year, with the signing of Joe Haden, for example, even if it came all the way in August. And they made a number of trades—five, if I recall correctly—bringing in two players, trading two others away, and swapping player for player.
So if there was a year in which the Steelers would be tempted to make a move prior to yesterday’s trade deadline, there is a reasonable thought process suggesting that it would have been this year. And they even had a movable commodity in Martavis Bryant, who literally wanted to be traded.
Teams called, the Steelers didn’t oblige. Would you have? And what would the compensation have needed to be in order for you to pull the trigger on a trade for the talented but controversial wide receiver?
On the one hand, he has already proven to be a valuable player in the past. On the other, he hasn’t shown nearly as much so far this year. One also has to wonder if the offense is equipped to take advantage of his best attributes.
Acquiescing his desire for a trade could also set a dangerous precedent, which the Steelers are careful not to do. They just made Antonio Brown wait two years to negotiate a new contract, so they wouldn’t consider giving in to a player’s trade demand lightly.
It’s one thing to be willing to deal him, and another to get appropriate value. What that value is, I wouldn’t be surprised, deviates greatly from evaluator to evaluator. But I do know this: he can still help the Steelers win a Super Bowl in 2017. I don’t know if they will be in position to make a run in 2018.