Not only did the Oakland Raiders give up a 3rd round pick to acquire Martavis Bryant, they may have done it to pick up a receiver facing another suspension. According to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Raiders fear Bryant will soon face discipline from the league. The report writes:
“The Raiders fear potential NFL discipline might be imminent for wide receiver Martavis Bryant, sources said Thursday, inciting internal uneasiness at the conclusion of an otherwise encouraging spring workout program.
Multiple team officials declined comment as they left for a weekslong break before training camp, but they acknowledged the club is awaiting final word on the situation. It is believed to pertain to the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.”
The article states it’s unknown if the suspension would be for a failed test. A test a player doesn’t show up for is also considered a failure and strike against, per league policy.
Bryant, of course, has had a troubled past with the league. He’s been suspended twice since getting drafted in 2014, missing the first month of 2015 and then suspended for the entire 2016 season. It’s not totally clear how long another suspension could cause him to miss but it’s certainly possible he’d be facing another season-long ban. Bryant is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
Pittsburgh dealt away Bryant on the first night of the NFL Draft, to the surprise of many, and to hear Kevin Colbert tell it, the surprise of the organization. Colbert insisted they weren’t actively shopping Bryant but the Raiders made too good of an offer to pass up. The Steelers drafted WR James Washington in the second round as his replacement.
If the news is true and Bryant is facing his third suspension, it’s a huge win for Pittsburgh, who were already coming out looking good when the trade was first announced.