While the Steelers are not believed to be making calls about Martavis Bryant, they are expected to discuss the wide receiver with teams at the Combine, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link). Rapoport does, in fact, note the Steelers are open to listening to offers for Bryant but don’t appear to be too aggressive about that at this juncture. However, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes Bryant has expressed desire to be a No. 1 receiver, and that’s not going to happen with likely Hall of Fame candidate Antonio Brown on the Steelers. This helps explain why the sides have not discussed a long-term extension or bridge contract. Bryant is entering his contract year, and the Steelers like their trio of wideouts. But Fowler writes the franchise doesn’t want Bryant causing any problems this season, which would make a trade logical. Fowler writes it would not be a surprise for Bryant to skip offseason workouts to display his frustration with his status.
Here’s the latest from some North teams as Combine itineraries are being finalized.
- An irregular heartbeat shelved Jake Fisher midway through the season, inducing the Bengals to place their right tackle on the Reserve/NFI list. But the fourth-year blocker has been cleared to return to action, the Bengals announced. A 2015 second-rounder, Fisher is entering a contract year. He started a career-high seven games in 2017 prior to the heart problem sidelining him. The franchise is optimistic Fisher can have a strong season.
- The Packers‘ strategy at backup quarterback put them in danger in 2013, when Aaron Rodgers‘ first collarbone injury occurred, and burned them last season after Rodgers suffered a similar malady. Multiple scouts who spoke with Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette said the Packers need to prioritize their backup quarterback more appropriately, with one making a notable claim the position was on par with left tackle in terms of importance. While that seems extreme, Rodgers has now missed 16 games between those two seasons. Dougherty mentions Sam Bradford as a possibility while one scout named Matt Moore and Ryan Fitzpatrick as superior options to Brett Hundley. Bradford indicated he plans to play in 2018 despite his injury history, but teams pining for Kirk Cousins may view he or A.J. McCarron as contingency plans as starters.
- Teams are now free to place their respective franchise tags on players, and Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com writes this makes the most sense for the Lions. While $17.5MM is steep for a player with Ansah’s inconsistent track record, the former first-rounder is Detroit’s best pass rusher. And on a market light on proven edge help, the Lions might be wise to keep Ansah for at least another season.