Martavis Bryant

AFC Notes: A. Smith, Orr, Watson, Landry

It was former Chiefs GM John Dorsey who ultimately pulled the trigger on the team’s draft-day trade that allowed Kansas City to climb all the way up to the No. 10 overall spot and draft quarterback Patrick Mahomes. But now that Dorsey is out and Brett Veach is in, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report says it is fair to question what the new hire means for incumbent signal-caller Alex Smith.

But according to Miller, not much will change with respect to the team’s approach to Smith. After all, Veach has been with the Chiefs for the past four years, so it’s not as if he’s coming to Kansas City with a fresh take on the situation. Plus, Miller’s league sources all said effectively the same thing: “nothing changes in Kansas City while Andy Reid is the head coach.” As such, you can still expect the team to move on from Smith after the 2017 season — and save $17MM in the process — as long as Mahomes appears ready to assume control.

Now for more from the AFC:

  • Kevin Bowen of Colts.com says all is quiet on the Colts/Zach Orr front, and at this point, the team has had plenty of time to sift through Orr’s medicals. Therefore, Bowen does not believe Indianapolis will pursue Orr in an attempt to bolster its linebacker corps.
  • Although Texans GM Rick Smith was not as definitive as head coach Bill O’Brien in declaring Tom Savage the team’s Week 1 starter, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle confirms that Savage will be under center when the regular season gets underway. Rookie signal-caller Deshaun Watson, meanwhile, is content to remain patient and wait for his opportunity. Watson said, “It’s best for the team. Coach [O’Brien] knows a lot of football. He’s been with … one of the best in NFL history in Tom Brady. He knows how everything is operated. He knows when the perfect timing will be.”
  • Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant recently said he took issue with the way Ben Roethlisberger spoke about him to the media earlier this summer, when Big Ben said Bryant would need to “win back everybody’s trust.” That might sound pretty rich for a player who managed to get himself suspended for the entire 2016 campaign, but Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com nonetheless believes that it is important for Bryant and Roethlisberger to have the sit-down that Bryant proposed. Although such meetings are often unbeneficial formalities, Fowler says Bryant, whose position in the league is fairly tenuous at this point, needs to feel like the catalyst he can be and not become a source of criticism.
  • The Dolphins‘ best bet may be to simply let Jarvis Landry play out the 2017 season, his contract year, and put the franchise tag on him in 2018, as Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders opines. After all, Landry is set to make less than $1MM this year, so even the projected $17MM tag in 2018 would allow Miami to keep Landry for at least two more seasons at about $8.5MM per year, which is well below the $14MM per year he would likely get with a new contract. Although that approach could create some discord between player and team, it does make short-term financial sense.
  • Darryl Slater of NJ.com makes a series of predictions for the Jets, with the most interesting being that he expects Christian Hackenberg to become the team’s starting quarterback no later than Week 12 (New York has a Week 11 bye), and that he expects Todd Bowles to be retained for 2018.

AFC Rumors: Dolphins, Steelers, Jets

The Dolphins released cornerback Brent Grimes in March 2016, which his wife, Miko Grimes, took credit for at the time and again in an interview this week with Jack Dickey of SI.com. “People say I got him cut with my mouth,” said Miko Grimes. “Duh! That was the goal!” While Miko Grimes has taken to Twitter in the past to make anti-Semitic comments about Dolphins brass and attack quarterback Ryan Tannehill, her obnoxious behavior did not spur Brent Grimes’ release, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Rather, the Dolphins cut the now-Buccaneer “because of his size, his age, and the magnitude of his contract,” writes Florio, who adds that they first tried to trade him.

More from a couple other AFC cities:

  • If the Steelers and franchise-tagged running back Le’Veon Bell are going to reach a multiyear agreement by Monday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline, it probably won’t come until the 11th hour, according to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. There hasn’t been any movement toward a deal Friday, per Fittipaldo, so it continues to look as if Bell will play the season for $12.12MM.
  • There could still be major changes to the Jets’ defensive line by Week 1, suggests Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. The Jets have shopped Sheldon Richardson in recent months, and if a team comes along this summer willing to trade a third-round pick for him, Gang Green should take it, opines Cimini. Steve McLendon, one of Richardson’s prominent line mates, also might not be a lock to remain a Jet into the regular season. New York would like to see second-year nose tackle Deon Simon emerge this summer, and if that happens, it may make McLendon expendable, notes Cimini.
  • Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said earlier this summer that receiver Martavis Bryant will have to “win back everybody’s trust” as he returns from a yearlong suspension. Bryant took exception to that, telling Dan Graziano of ESPN.com on Thursday that he and Roethlisberger “should have a man-to-man. Because some of the things he put out there about me, I kind of didn’t agree with how he did it.” Nevertheless, Bryant added that “everything’s great” between him and the QB at the moment.

AFC Notes: Broncos, Steelers, Browns, Colts

Broncos general manager John Elway is entering a contract year, but the franchise icon expects to sign an extension by the start of the season, reports Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter links). “Yep. I don’t think there will be any doubt,” said Elway, who added that he has no interest in leaving Denver. After thriving as the Broncos’ quarterback from 1983-1998, a stretch in which he won two Super Bowls and made nine Pro Bowls, the Hall of Famer’s success has continued with the organization away from the field. Since Elway took over as the Broncos’ GM five years ago, the club has gone 59-31 with four playoff appearances and another Super Bowl title.

More from the AFC:

  • Speaking with reporters (including Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) on Tuesday, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was unwilling to say whether he plans to continue his career beyond the upcoming season. “I never commit to anyone more than one year,” stated the 35-year-old Roethlisberger, who indicated that he did seriously consider retiring after last season. “Did you think I was lying?” he said.
  • One of Roethlisberger’s teammates, wide receiver Martavis Bryant, realizes his career is hanging in the balance as a result of the two suspensions he has incurred in three years (via Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today). “I know it’s my last chance,” acknowledged Bryant, who’s back after missing all of last season on account of a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. The 25-year-old doesn’t expect any more off-field slip-ups going forward. Regarding the past year, Bryant stated: “I developed better habits. I changed who I hang around. I’ve become a family man. I just had a son, he’s seven weeks. It’s really me developing my life and getting back on track.”
  • Speaking of troubled receivers, the chances of Josh Gordon ever playing for the Browns again are slim to none, Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland opines (on Twitter). The suspended Gordon, whom the NFL denied reinstatement two weeks ago, can reapply in the fall.
  • The Colts still aren’t sure when safety Clayton Geathers will return from the season-ending neck injury he suffered last December, writes Kevin Bowen of the team’s website. Geathers, who underwent surgery on a bulging disc in March, started in all nine of his appearances as a second-year player in 2016. If Geathers is healthy during the upcoming season, he should be in line to start alongside free safety Malik Hooker, the Colts’ first-round pick. Otherwise, that role could go to T.J. Green.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Extra Points: Cowboys, Brantley, Steelers

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones seems content to sit at No. 28 rather than trade up, as Drew Davison of the Star Telegram writes. “This is a real good year for staying put,” Jones said. “I don’t know if it’s because we need so many good football players or because there are some good football players there, especially in those early rounds. But in my experience, it’s wasting your time to talk about what you might do trading in the later rounds.”

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley has been approached about a potential settlement in his assault case, but he has no plans to accept the offer, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (Twitter links). Additionally, Brantley’s lawyer says a security guard present during the incident witnessed the victim punch Brantley in the mouth, while Brantley never hit the female as the police report stated (Twitter links). Clearly, it’s a very murky situation, and one that doesn’t figure to be resolved before the draft begins on Thursday night. As such, there’s no clear indication as to how NFL clubs will value Brantley and his potential baggage, but it’s difficult to see how this episode doesn’t affect his draft stock.
  • As part of Martavis Bryant‘s conditional reinstatement, he’s not allowed to participate in Steelers‘ practices or preseason games until he’s located a treating clinician, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. When he’s right, Bryant is one of the more dynamic wide receivers in the NFL, but the league wants to ensure that he’s heading down the correct path. Having been handed a one-year ban in 2016, Bryant will now undergo regular drug tests as he works his way back into the NFL’s — and Pittsburgh’s — good graces.
  • Contrary to previous reports, the Dolphins are not “locked in” on Western Kentucky offensive lineman Forrest Lamp, and are not expected to target guard help with the 22nd pick, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Seemingly practitioners of positional-based drafting, the Dolphins are more likely to use their first-round selection on “defensive playmakers” such as corners and, presumably, defensive ends, a position group to which Miami has been heavily linked. Additionally, the Fins seem content with their current veteran guards, Ted Larsen and Jermon Bushrod, per Salguero.
  • Former Vikings center/guard Brandon Fusco is visiting the Patriots today, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. Fusco appeared/started in 14 games for Minnesota in 2016.
  • The Chiefs‘ release of Jaye Howard came with a failed physical designation, as Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star writes.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.

Steelers’ Martavis Bryant Gets Reinstated

Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant has been conditionally reinstated by the NFL, according to a press release from the Steelers. Bryant may join the Steelers at the training facility and participate in meetings, conditioning work and similar activities. “Once arrangements have been confirmed regarding Bryant’s clinical resources in Pittsburgh,” he will be permitted to participate in preseason practices and games, paving the way for him to suit up in Week 1 of the regular season.Martavis Bryant (vertical)

We appreciate that he has taken the necessary steps in an effort to get his personal life in order. We also understand this is just the beginning as he works to return to the team and meet all of the conditions of his reinstatement,” GM Kevin Colbert said in the press release.

The conditions of Bryant’s reinstatement are not yet known, but drug tests will surely be a part of his regimen. At some point during the season, he’ll receive full reinstatement if everything checks out.

Bryant had been suspended since March 2016 for multiple failed drug tests. The 25-year-old has looked great when on the field, but he has appeared in only 21 regular season games since entering the league in 2014. If he can stay on track, Bryant has the ability to become the team’s top option at wide receiver after Antonio Brown.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Martavis Bryant’s Reinstatement

Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant is getting closer to reinstatement. According to Alex Marvez of The Sporting News, the suspended wideout met with the NFL’s Management Council last week as he looked to get reinstated from his one-year ban. Bryant was originally suspended last offseason after failing multiple drug tests.

Martavis Bryant (vertical)According to Marvez, the board set several conditions, including a requirement that Bryant creates a detailed plan of “safeguards that would help him prevent a relapse.” Once the NFL’s medical director and medical advisor hand the league a recommendation about how to proceed, the wideout will have to meet with commissioner Roger Goodell or one of his representatives.

We heard in late March that both Bryant and the Steelers had “legit hope” that the wideout would be able to attend offseason workouts. However, since the workouts start Monday, it’s unlikely that the receiver will be able to attend right away.

The 25-year-old has only appeared in 21 regular season games since entering the league as a fourth-round pick in 2014. The Clemson product has looked dynamic when he’s been on the field, hauling in 76 career receptions for 1,314 yards and 14 touchdowns. Assuming Bryant is ultimately reinstated, he’ll be joining a Steelers receivers corps that features Antonio BrownCobi HamiltonEli RogersSammie CoatesDarrius Heyward-Bey, Justin HunterDemarcus Ayers, and Canaan Severin.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Reinstatement Likely For Martavis Bryant

It appears Steelers wide receiver Martavis’ Bryant year-plus suspension is on the verge of ending. Those close to Bryant are “confident” the league will reinstate him soon, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Chris Wesseling of NFL.com). The Steelers are also optimistic, reports the NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, who tweets that there’s “legit hope” Bryant will be back in the fold when the team begins offseason workouts April 17.

Martavis Bryant (vertical)

The league banned Bryant last March after he missed multiple drug tests. Bryant previously sat four games in 2015 for marijuana usage, meaning suspensions have cost the ex-Clemson Tiger 20 contests since he entered the league as a fourth-round pick in 2014. The 25-year-old has also missed seven games while dealing with injuries, so he has only suited up 21 of a possible 48 times in the regular season.

When on the field, Bryant has been a major threat. He caught 50 passes for 765 yards and eight touchdowns in just 11 games in 2015. That came after he hauled in eight scores and averaged a ridiculous 21.1 yards per catch in 10 games as a rookie. In all, the 6-foot-4, 211-pounder has amassed 76 receptions, 14 scores and posted a 17.3 YPC. Should he gain reinstatement and rejoin the Steelers, he’d immediately become their best wideout after Antonio Brown.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Martavis Bryant Still Awaiting Reinstatement

Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant has not been reinstated from suspension yet, NFL sources tell Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). There’s no indication of when reinstatement will occur, but Wilson hears it is still expected to happen eventually. Martavis Bryant (vertical)

[RELATED: Steelers Notes: Roethlisberger, Needs]

Bryant is currently in the midst of his second career suspension as an NFL player. In 2015, he served a four-game ban for multiple substance abuse violations. This time around, Bryant was sidelined by the league for missing multiple missed drug tests. Initially, the 25-year-old considered appealing the ban, but he decided against it and eventually entered rehab for depression issues.

In a statement from last March, the Steelers said that Bryant would have to make “significant changes…in his personal life if he wants to regain his career as a Pittsburgh Steeler.”

The ex-Clemson Tiger caught 50 passes for 765 yards and eight touchdowns in just 11 games in 2015. All told, Bryant has totaled 76 receptions with 14 touchdowns and a 17.3 YPC average in 21 games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Martavis Bryant To Apply For Reinstatement

Suspended Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant has officially applied for reinstatement to the NFL, reports Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). It was reported in mid-January that the embattled wideout would apply for reinstatement “in the near future.” Bryant won’t be eligible to return until March, one year after the NFL suspended him for violating its substance abuse policy.

Martavis Bryant

Although Bryant’s Steelers made it all the way to the AFC title game, the 2016 campaign will go down as a lost season for the 25-year-old. Bryant is serving his second suspension since he entered the pros in 2014.

Previously, Bryant sat four games in 2015 for multiple substance abuse violations. Marijuana usage was at the root of the penalty then, but Bryant’s current suspension came as a result of multiple missed drug tests. Bryant elected against appealing the ban, as he deemed it an “unwinnable” situation, and decided to enter rehab for depression issues.

If Bryant’s off-field troubles are behind him and he does come back next season, his presence could be a boon to an already high-octane Steeler attack. However, there’s no guarantee the franchise would welcome him back.

“We are very disappointed that Martavis Bryant has put himself in this current situation of being suspended by the League,” the Steelers said in a statement last March. He is at a crossroads of his professional life, and he needs to understand significant changes need to occur in his personal life if he wants to regain his career as a Pittsburgh Steeler. We are hopeful that Martavis will take the necessary steps to develop the discipline in his personal life to become a successful player and a good teammate.”

When on the field, Bryant has been a major threat. The ex-Clemson Tiger caught 50 passes for 765 yards and eight touchdowns in just 11 games last season. That came after he hauled in eight scores and averaged a whopping 21.1 yards per catch in 10 games as a rookie. All told, the 6-foot-4, 211-pounder has amassed 76 receptions, 14 scores and posted a 17.3 YPC in 21 games. Should he don a Pittsburgh uniform in 2017, he’d join an Antonio Brown-led receiving corps that also includes Eli Rogers and Sammie Coates.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Titans, Texans, Steelers, Jaguars

Less than a year after swinging a blockbuster trade to give up the No. 1 position in the 2016 draft, Titans general manager Jon Robinson isn’t ruling out more bold maneuverings this offseason. While Tennessee has the fifth and 18th picks in this year’s draft, Robinson told Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com that “it would be a mistake” to assume he’ll end up selecting in those spots. Robinson also implied that, if anything, he’ll move down again. The Titans are without a second-round pick, but they would “love” to have one, Robinson said. “Draft currency is a powerful thing in this league because it gives you a chance to acquire young talent,’’ he added. “They are less expensive players than guys who have played in the league six, seven or eight, nine or 10 years. So to be able to get two of those guys, or one of those guys if we trade, or three of those guys if we trade. … Whatever it is, draft picks are valuable currency as it relates to team building.”

More from the AFC:

  • The Texans retained Romeo Crennel on Wednesday, shifting him from defensive coordinator (Mike Vrabel‘s new role) to assistant head coach. While Crennel’s contract was set to expire later this month, he would not have left Houston for another team this offseason, reports Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Crennel, 69, was either going to remain on head coach Bill O’Brien‘s staff or retire.
  • Speaking of O’Brien, he will not hire an offensive coordinator to replace George Godsey, per Mark Berman of FOX 26 (Twitter link). As expected, O’Brien will call the Texans’ offensive plays. He has also moved Sean Ryan from receivers coach to quarterbacks coach.
  • In the wake of Tuesday’s news that suspended Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant will soon apply for reinstatement, agent Thomas Santanello told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that his client is “clean” and “on a mission to come back” (via Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk). Bryant, 24, is currently serving his second substance abuse-related ban – this one a yearlong suspension – since he entered the NFL in 2014, but Santanello insists the highly talented offensive weapon has put his drug issues behind him. “He’s working out four days a week, watches film. He’s in the best shape he’s ever been in. He’s added 10 pounds of solid muscle. He’s a new person,” Santanello continued.
  • Bills outside linebackers coach Jason Rebrovich is likely to interview with the Jaguars on Wednesday for a job on their defensive staff, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN. Rebrovich previously worked under newly named Jags head coach Doug Marrone in Buffalo and at Syracuse.