Martavis Bryant

Josh Gordon, Martavis Bryant May Apply For Reinstatement By May

Suspended NFL wideouts Josh Gordon and Martavis Bryant may be able to apply for reinstatement by May, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Both Gordon and Bryant are suspended — not banished — from the NFL, which, as Pelissero note,s in an important distinction given that banishment would have lead to a one-year minimum absence from the league. However, both pass-catchers’ suspensions are indefinite in nature, so there’s no clear timeframe on when they can attempt to re-enter the NFL.

Nevertheless, if both Gordon and Bryant execute their treatment plans in accordance with the league’s wishes, the NFLPA may begin to “lay groundwork” for returns in May, per Pelissero. Such a plan could could potentially put both players back on the field by training camp, something Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported — at least, in the case of Gordon — on Wednesday.

Gordon, whom the Patriots acquired at midseason from the Browns, is scheduled to become a restricted free agent next month, so New England will soon need to decide at what level it will tender the 27-year-old. Bryant, meanwhile, was traded from the Steelers to the Raiders during the draft, but was subsequently cut and re-signed in September. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in March, but clearly shouldn’t be expected to find a new team until later this summer, at the least.

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Latest On Suspended WR Martavis Bryant

We learned yesterday that Raiders wideout Martavis Bryant had been suspended indefinitely by the NFL. While it was certainly possible for the 26-year-old to rehabilitate his image and return to the league, at least one individual believes the receiver has already played his final game in the NFL.

A source told FanSided.com’s Jason Cole that he doesn’t believe Bryant “will ever play again” (Twitter link). This might not necessarily be attributed to teams’ lack of interest; rather, Cole says the wideout “seriously angered” the NFL during the process. Bryant had previously been fighting a substance abuse suspension, but a lost appeal means that he’ll be banned until further notice.

The 2014 fourth-round pick had previously served two suspensions during his stint with the Steelers: a four-game ban in 2015 and a season-long ban in 2016. He was conditionally reinstated by the league in April of 2017, and this most-recent ban was attributed to “violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement” (via NFL.com’s Austin Knoblauch).

The Raiders sent Pittsburgh a third-rounder during the draft to acquire Bryant, but the organization later learned that the wideout was facing this potential suspension. The Raiders ended up releasing the wideout at the end of the preseason, but they re-signed him to a one-year deal less than two weeks later.

Bryant was allowed to play during the appeals process, and he proceeded to play in eight games for Oakland, hauling in 19 receptions for 266 yards and no touchdowns. The team placed the receiver on the injured reserve in early December after he suffered a knee injury.

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Raiders WR Martavis Bryant Banned By NFL

Raiders wide receiver Martavis Bryant has been suspended indefinitely by NFL, according to Michael Gehlken of the Review-Journal (on Twitter). Bryant has been fighting a substance abuse suspension for months, but a lost appeal means that he will be out of the game until further notice. 

The Raiders have feared this news for quite a while, though team execs have been mum on the subject. It’s fair to say the Raiders regret sending a third-round pick to the Steelers for Bryant earlier this year.

The Bryant trade occurred after the Raiders moved down from No. 10 for the Cardinals’ No. 15 pick, plus third- and fifth-round selections. That third-round choice was shipped to Pittsburgh, bringing Bryant to Oakland. UCLA tackle Kolton Miller has potential and may prove to be a quality first-round selection, but the Raiders effectively threw away a Top 100 selection when they acquired Bryant.

Before the deal, Bryant spent his entire four-year career with the Steelers. His tenure was tumultuous, as he missed the entire 2016 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The 26-year-old (27 next week) showed flashes of brilliance early on, including a rookie campaign where he caught eight touchdowns, but the red flags have been long apparent.

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Raiders Place Bryant, Nelson On IR

The season is already over for three Raiders players. Safety Reggie Nelson, wide receiver Martavis Bryant, and defensive end Shilique Calhoun have all been placed on IR, according to a club announcement. 

[RELATED: Raiders Designate Donald Penn For Return]

Bryant, dubbed the “White Tiger” by coach Jon Gruden for his special ability and inability to stay on the field, appeared in only eight games this season, recording 19 catches for 266 yards and zero touchdowns. It was his weakest showing to date – even in his ten-game rookie campaign, Bryant managed 26 catches, 549 yards, and eight scores. Bryant is headed for free agency in March, but his PCL injury and mysterious suspension (or, non-suspension) for drug use will make him a tough sell on a multi-year deal.

Nelson’s season is through thanks to a shoulder injury suffered on Sunday against the Chiefs. The three-year captain’s season ends with 29 tackles and two interceptions in eleven games. The veteran is also headed towards free agency this offseason, but it’s not clear whether the 35-year-old will look to continue playing.

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Martavis Bryant Suffers Possible Torn PCL

Raiders receiver Martavis Bryant appears to have suffered a torn PCL, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). 

It’s been a weird 2018 season for Bryant, who was traded by the Steelers to the Raiders this offseason for a third round pick, then cut by Oakland, then re-signed. Bryant was originally cut because the team believed he was facing a potential season-ending suspension for another violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.

It was confirmed a couple of months ago that Bryant had indeed been suspended, but that the league was allowing him to play while he appealed, and there’s been no update since. Oakland’s coaching staff had been talking up the potential for Bryant to play a bigger role in the offense after the team traded Amari Cooper, so this is a big loss. Jordy Nelson was in and out of the game with a quad injury, so the Raiders’ receiving corp could be dangerously thin moving forward.

While Rapoport noted that while “the hope is he doesn’t end up needing surgery”, “Bryant is going to miss time.” At this point it looks like the Raiders are hoping to get him back at some point this season, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s done for the year.

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Martavis Bryant Permitted To Play During Appeal Of Suspension

Although we have not heard an official announcement from the NFL, it appears that Raiders WR Martavis Bryant has indeed been handed a one-year suspension for allegedly violating the league’s substance-abuse policy (we heard last week that Bryant was facing such a ban). However, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com writes that Bryant has appealed the suspension, and the NFL will allow him to play until it makes a decision on the appeal.

Just two days after we learned that Bryant was staring at another suspension, the Raiders re-signed the talented but troubled receiver, whom they cut on September 1. Oakland, which traded a third-round pick to the Steelers to acquire Bryant during this year’s draft, would like to get something of a return on its investment, and ESPN’s Dan Graziano tweets that the Raiders were comfortable with bringing Bryant back into the fold because it will take a little while for the NFL to rule on his appeal (it also helps that Bryant’s contract pays him on a week-to-week basis).

The appeal is expected to be heard within the next couple of weeks, which could buy Bryant a few games on the Raiders’ roster. Of course, if the appeal is resolved in Bryant’s favor, he could spend the entire year on the roster, which would go a long way towards getting his NFL career back on track.

Schefter reports that Bryant’s camp is confident in his chances to win the appeal, and Graziano says Bryant has retained New York attorney Peter Ginsberg to represent him in the process. For now, Bryant will slot into a receiver group that includes Amari CooperJordy NelsonSeth Roberts, and Brandon LaFell.

The Raiders take on the division-rival Broncos later this afternoon.

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AFC Notes: Raiders, Ravens, Bengals, Bills

The Raiders surprisingly re-signed wide receiver Martavis Bryant earlier this week after initially waiving him at final cutdowns, and head coach Jon Gruden is optimistic on Bryant’s chances to contribute, as Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. “He’s in a good place right now,” Gruden said. “I think he’s healthy. I think he’s ready to go. We’re sold on that. We’ve been in contact with him since he has been away. I’ve said it before: when he’s right, he can be a difference maker and we’re hoping he can be one sooner rather than later.”

Bryant is reportedly facing a yearlong suspension after another alleged violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, but he’s eligible to play until the league formally announces a ban. Indeed, Bryant is expected to suit up for the Raiders when they face the Broncos on Sunday. Bryant didn’t take any sort of pay cut to return to Oakland, as he’ll collect the same $1.907MM (prorated) salary he was originally due, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Linebacker C.J. Mosley did not suffer any ligament damage in the Ravens‘ Thursday night loss to the Bengals, head coach John Harbaugh told reporters, including Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (Twitter link). While Mosley may miss Baltimore’s Week 3 contest against Denver, Harbaugh doesn’t think Mosley is facing a long-term absence. For what it’s worth, the Ravens announced Mosley had a bone bruise when he left last night’s game. As Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com writes, Mosley has arguably become Baltimore’s most indispensable defender, so the Ravens will be hard-pressed to replace him for any period of time. Mosley, 26, is currently playing out the final year of his contract, but he hadn’t progressed on an extension with the Ravens as of July.
  • Elsewhere from Thursday night’s game, Bengals center Billy Price suffered a foot sprain, according to head coach Marvin Lewis (Twitter link via Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer). The injury doesn’t sound all that serious, as Lewis indicated he was “surprised” Price wasn’t cleared to return to Cincinnati’s eventual victory. Price, the 21st overall selection in this year’s draft, was part of a Bengals offensive line overhaul that also included the acquisition of left tackle Cordy Glenn. If Price is forced to miss action, he’ll be replaced by reserve Trey Hopkins, who started 12 games for Cincinnati in 2017.
  • The Bills will start first-round rookie Josh Allen at quarterback on Sunday after Nathan Peterman and the rest of Buffalo’s offense was thrashed by Baltimore in Week 1, leading Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com to examine whether deploying Allen this early in the season is the correct decision. Allen won’t be forced to face Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, but the Los Angeles defense will certainly present a challenge for the Wyoming product.

West Rumors: Prosise, Cards, Rams, Raiders

After a promising flash as a rookie, C.J. Prosise has not contributed much to the Seahawks‘ cause. He’s picked up 17 touches since December 2016 and is behind Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis on the Seattle running back depth chart. However, the team is discussing a position change for the third-year back. Pete Carroll said (via Pro Football Talk) his coaching staff is examining a possible Prosise switch to wide receiver, citing his background at the position in college. Prosise was a wideout at Notre Dame before being switched to the backfield. He caught 29 passes for 516 yards in 2014. The Seahawks are down Doug Baldwin for perhaps multiple weeks, and they have just four healthy wide receivers.

Here’s the latest from the West divisions, shifting to a running back who is also quite adept at the receiver role.

  • David Johnson is now the NFL’s second-highest-paid running back, holding a substantial lead over the No. 3 player in this hierarchy, and ranks close to the top in terms of fully guaranteed money, too. Johnson’s three-year, $39MM Cardinals extension will come with $24.682MM fully guaranteed at signing, Joel Corry of CBS Sports tweets. Adding in the amount guaranteed for injury increases the deal’s guarantees to $31MM, per Corry, who adds offset language is included in this contract. Johnson’s $24MM-plus full guarantee leads all running backs on veteran contracts, surpassing Todd Gurley‘s $21.9MM in guarantees.
  • Martavis Bryant is indeed back with the Raiders, as Jon Gruden suggested he could be. An illness and general inconsistency during camp led to Bryant being a preseason cut, Gruden said (via Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic, on Twitter). Gruden said the perpetual suspension risk, who may or may not be facing another ban, is more focused and may suit up for the team on Sunday in Denver.
  • In addition to the Raiders’ interest in signing top free agent Johnathan Hankins, Gruden said they’re also interested in adding Clinton McDonald, per Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Hankins is visiting the Raiders on Wednesday. The Broncos released McDonald after the preseason slate. If signed, McDonald would add yet another 30-something to Gruden’s free agency haul. He’s 31.
  • The Raiders are in need of help at defensive tackle because of a Justin Ellis injury. The fifth-year veteran defensive tackle strained ligaments in his foot, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. He’s week-to-week, prompting Oakland to pursue outside help.
  • Adam Jones signed with the Broncos late in the preseason, appearing to represent an upgrade at punt returner and No. 4 cornerback. However, the 35-year-old defender appears to have usurped Tramaine Brock for the nickel job, Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com notes. Brock didn’t fare poorly in the preseason and graded as an upper-echelon corner during his last season of full-time work, with the 2016 49ers, but Jones has more experience in Vance Joseph‘s defense from their time together in Cincinnati. If he’s been demoted, it would mark a second straight season the 30-year-old defender’s resided out of a nickel picture. The Vikings carried Brock as a depth piece in 2017.
  • The Rams are going to need a new return man. Pharoh Cooper suffered an ankle injury and will be out for “some time,” Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com notes. Backup return man Michael Thomas is out for a few weeks, Sean McVay said, to prompt Los Angeles to seek alternative options. Cooper served as the Rams’ kick- and punt-return man last season, soaring to All-Pro honors.

Raiders Re-Sign WR Martavis Bryant

The Raiders are re-signing free agent Martavis Bryant to a one-year deal, per Dan Graziano of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link) first reported Bryant was nearing a deal with Oakland, while Mike Garafolo (Twitter link) first noted Bryant was back in the Raiders’ facility.

Bryant is reportedly facing a year-long suspension after once again violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, but nothing official has yet been announced on that front. As such, Bryant is eligible to sign and play until the league formally bans him.

Bryant is expected to play on Sunday, according to Pelissero, which would represent quite the turnaround for the 26-year-old pass-catcher. For now, he’ll slot into a receiver group that includes Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson, Seth Roberts, and Brandon LaFell.

Oakland sent a third-round pick to Pittsburgh for Bryant earlier this year, but subsequently waived him during final cutdowns. Bryant passed through waivers (presumably because rival clubs believe he’ll be suspended), and was free to sign with any team.

By signing Bryant, the Raiders aren’t taking much of a financial risk. If he ultimately is suspended, Bryant wouldn’t collect his paycheck from Oakland while he’s away from the club. And he’s unlikely to ink anything more than a minimum salary contract, anyway.

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Martavis Bryant Facing Year-Long Suspension

Former Steelers and Raiders receiver Martavis Bryant is facing a year-long suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy again, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Rumors of a looming suspension for Bryant had been swirling for some time, but this is the first definitive report on that front. Schefter adds that the NFL could issue an official ruling as early as this week.

Of course, the Raiders traded a 2018 third-round draft pick to the Steelers to acquire Bryant, but the troubled playmaker never played a down for Oakland. And, given that this would be Bryant’s third suspension in four years, it is possible that he will never play in the NFL again.

Bryant, 26, missed the entire 2016 season after repeated substance-abuse policy violations. However, he played in 15 games for Pittsburgh last year and flashed enough to entice the Raiders to part with the 79th overall pick in this year’s draft. He posted 50 catches for 603 yards and three scores in 2017, though he did clash with the Steelers’ coaching staff.

When he was dealt to Oakland, he promised to turn over a new leaf, but he was unfortunately unable to do so. He will be entitled to counseling from the NFL Players Association, even though his return to the league is now very much in doubt.

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