Pittsburgh Steelers Rumors & News

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.

PFR’s 2017 Live NFL Mock Draft

The 2017 NFL Draft begins on Thursday night, and Pro Football Rumors is back with its second mock draft of the year. While our initial mock attempted to project what will happen in Round 1, we’ve taken a different approach for mock draft 2.0.

PFR editor Zach Links and I conducted this live mock draft on Tuesday morning, rotating picks and breaking down what we would do were we in charge of these selections. We posted each pick on Twitter, followed by a short explanation of our thought process on this page.

Here’s the complete mock:

1. Cleveland Browns (Zach) – Myles Garrett, LB, Texas A&M

I suspect this is the easiest pick either one of us will make all day. Garrett is the best pure talent in this year’s draft and the Browns would be foolish to go in any other direction at the top of the draft.

2. San Francisco 49ers (Dallas) – Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

Reports that the 49ers are considering a quarterback with the second overall selection stand out as a potential smokescreen, and instead San Francisco uses the No. 2 pick to bolster its defense. Hooker, who recently earned a full medical clearance following combine rechecks, has been commonly linked to the Chargers as a perfect fit for Los Angeles defensive coordinator Gus Bradley‘s scheme. But the 49ers are running the same defensive look as the Chargers under new DC Robert Saleh, and Hooker would give the team a centerfielder with the upside of an Earl Thomas. San Francisco’s plan to convert nickel cornerback Jimmie Ward to safety won’t stop it from adding Hooker, who is possibly the draft’s No. 2 overall prospect.

3. Chicago Bears (Zach) – Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford 

Dallas’ bold pick left my Bears with a golden opportunity. The Bears could go safety or cornerback in this scenario, but the talent of Thomas is too good to pass up. Thomas can be used on both the inside and outside of the Bears’ defensive line and I see him as one of the safest talents on the board.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (Dallas) – Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

No, we didn’t forget the Jaguars used a top-five pick on Jalen Ramsey in 2016 and then handed a $67.5MM contract to A.J. Bouye in free agency last month. But one of Ramsey’s key selling points last year was his versatility: while he’s a shutdown corner at his best, Ramsey can man the slot, cover tight ends, and dabble at safety. As such, adding Conley doesn’t mean Jacksonville is facing cornerback overload, especially given that NFL clubs are in the nickel more than two-thirds of the time. Conley is viewed as a safer prospect than his Ohio State teammate Marshon Lattimore, and he’d give the Jaguars a Broncos-like secondary.

5. Tennessee Titans (Zach) – Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

The Titans, arguably, get the best cornerback available in the draft even though they are the second team to address the position. No, we don’t have a ton of film to go on for Lattimore, but his combine numbers indicate that he could be a megastar. Few teams in the NFL would have a young cornerback duo like the Titans if they can pair Logan Ryan with Lattimore.Mitch Trubisky Instagram

6. Cleveland Browns (projected trade with Jets) (Dallas) – Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

In need of a franchise quarterback, the Browns send the No. 12 and No. 52 pick to the Jets in exchange for No. 6 with the intention of drafting Trubisky. It’s a slight overpay for Cleveland (at least, based on Chase Stuart of Football Perspective‘s draft value chart, which is likely what the Browns front offices uses), but it does the deal anyway to land a long-term option under center. Given that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is reportedly pressing the club to select a quarterback early — and the fact the Cleveland may still be considering Trubisky with the first overall selection — landing the UNC signal-caller at No. 5 for the cost of a mid-second-round pick is a move the Browns can’t pass up.

7. Los Angeles Chargers (Zach) – Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama

In this scenario, it seems like Allen’s subpar workouts have led to a bit of a drop. His size (6’3″) is a bit of a concern, but he has the ability to be an effective defensive end while spending some time on the inside as well. Allen would look great lining up on the opposite end of Joey Bosa.

8. Carolina Panthers (Dallas) – Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

Sitting at pick No. 8, the Panthers certainly have options. General manager Dave Gettleman & Co. could go after a running back like Leonard Fournette or Christian McCaffrey, bring in a young edge rusher to play alongside veterans like Charles Johnson and Julius Peppers, or even reach for an offensive tackle given Michael Oher‘s health questions. With Ted Ginn Jr. and Corey Brown having defected via free agency, the Panthers need another wideout to pair with Kelvin Benjamin. Enter Davis, who topped 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns in each of the past three seasons.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (Zach) – Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

Foster’s stock, by all accounts, is slipping after he turned in a diluted urine sample and got into an argument with a hospital worker at the combine. However, with other teams in the market for an inside linebacker (like the Jets at No. 12, for example), it would be somewhat risky to trade down into the teens and expect Foster to still be there. The Bengals have been willing to overlook character concerns in the past, so I see no reason why they can’t do the same here and land the Alabama star.

10. Buffalo Bills (Dallas) – Jamal Adams, S, LSU

While the Bills gave Jordan Poyer a four-year deal with $6MM in guarantees earlier this offseason, I’m still not convinced Buffalo views him as a definite starter. Those questions come to the forefront with Adams still on the board, and the Bills don’t hesitate to take the LSU defensive back. With ex-Packer Micah Hyde also in the fold, Buffalo can field one of the more diverse and flexible safety tandems in the league. Adams is viewed as a leader in the locker room, and has been favorably compared to former Cowboys All Pro Darren Woodson by Lance Zierlein of NFL.com.

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Steelers Exercise Ryan Shazier’s Option

The Steelers have exercised their fifth-year option on linebacker Ryan Shazier, a source tells Albert Breer of The MMQB (on Twitter). The Steelers technically had until May 3 to make the call, but they didn’t see any point in delaying. "Ryan

There was no real question that the Steelers would trigger Shazier’s fifth-year option. The 24-year-old (25 in September) has been a key cog in the Steelers’ defense for the past two seasons, starting 24 of 25 regular season games played. He had roughly identical production in 2015 and 2016, tallying 87 total tackles and 3.5 sacks in each campaign.

For his work, Pro Football Focus ranked Shazier as the 32nd best linebacker in the NFL last year, tying him with Mark Barron of the Rams and Danny Trevathan of the Bears. His 78.4 overall score was a career high. With his arrow pointing up, the Steelers will retain their rights to him through at least 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bryant Uncertainty Could Compel Steelers To Draft WR

  • Steelers WR Martavis Bryant is expected to be reinstated and to contribute in a big way to the Steelers’ passing attack in 2017, but given that he missed all of the 2016 season and has yet to actually be reinstated, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com believes Pittsburgh will approach this week’s draft as if Bryant is not in the mix. The team’s first-round pick is too late to land one of this year’s top WR prospects, but Fowler names Zay Jones, Chris Godwin, and Josh Reynolds as potential fits.

Lack Of Spending On CBs Forces Steelers To Use Draft

  • The Steelers’ top five cornerbacks are set to combine for a meager $9.22MM cap hit in 2017, leading Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com to wonder when they’ll make a greater financial investment in the position. They did show interest in corner Dre Kirkpatrick in free agency, notes Fowler, but he re-signed with the AFC North rival Bengals on a big-money deal. Landing him (or another available, high-profile CB) would have eliminated a draft need for the Steelers, Fowler writes. Now, they’ll have to take a corner for the third straight draft. Per a report from last week, Pittsburgh is poised to select a defensive back in Round 1.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/17/17

The latest minor moves…

  • Raiders defensive end Denico Autry has signed his RFA tender, reports ESPN’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link). The Raiders gave the 2014 undrafted free agent an original-round tender, leading to speculation that he could draw interest from elsewhere. Instead, Autry will return to the Raiders on the heels of back-to-back three-sack seasons. ERFAs Seth Roberts (WR) and Denver Kirkland (G) are also back in the fold, according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (on Twitter).
  • The Seahawks have re-signed linebacker Kache Palacio, writes Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Palacio, a former fullback who went undrafted out of Washington State last year, spent most of 2016 on Seattle’s practice squad.
  • Lions ERFAs Brandon Copeland (DE), Kerry Hyder (DT) and T.J. Jones (WR) have signed their tenders, tweets Birkett. Dolphins ERFAs Mike Hull (LB) and Anthony Steen (C) did the same earlier Monday, per Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).

Earlier updates:

  • The Panthers have re-upped restricted free agent guard Andrew Norwell and a pair of exclusive rights free agents – center Tyler Larsen and punter Michael Palardy – writes Bryan Strickland of their website. Carolina used a second-round tender on Norwell, who will earn $2.746MM in 2017. Norwell combined for 29 starts over the previous two seasons and ranked 11th in performance among Pro Football Focus’ 72 qualified guards last year.
  • Steelers RFA cornerback Ross Cockrell has inked his original-round tender, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Cockrell went in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, so the Steelers would have been entitled to a fourth-rounder had Cockrell signed elsewhere and they elected against matching the offer. The 25-year-old caught on with the Steelers in 2015 and has since totaled 31 appearances, 23 starts and two interceptions. Cockrell started in every Steelers game last year, and his performance ranked an improve 28th among 111 qualified corners at PFF.
  • Chiefs RFA kicker Cairo Santos has signed his tender, per Schefter (on Twitter). Santos, undrafted in 2014, received a low tender; as such, Kansas City wouldn’t have been entitled to compensation had he gone elsewhere. The three-year veteran has connected on 84.3 percent of field goal attempts, including 88.6 percent last season (good for fifth in the league).
  • Lions offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas has signed his RFA tender, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. The Lions assigned Lucas an original-rounder tender last month, so they wouldn’t have gotten a pick had the 2014 undrafted free agent signed elsewhere and they chose not to match. Lucas is now slated to make $1.797MM this year in Detroit, where he has started in six of 35 career appearances.
  • The Buccaneers have re-signed quarterback Ryan Griffin, cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah, tight end Cameron Brate, linebacker Adarius Glanton, and wide receivers Adam Humphries and Freddie Martino, per Scott Smith of the team’s website. As a restricted free agent, Griffin is the only one of the bunch who could have potentially gone elsewhere (the rest were exclusive rights free agents). The Bucs tendered the 2013 undrafted free agent at an original-round level last month, and he’ll now try to win the No. 2 role behind Jameis Winston. Tampa Bay’s previous second-stringer, Mike Glennon, is now the Bears’ starter.
  • RFA defensive back Marcus Burley and ERFA running back George Atkinson III are returning to the Browns, per a team announcement. Burley, undrafted in 2013, received an original-round tender. The former Seahawk is coming off his first year in Cleveland, where he appeared in 12 games and played just under 40 percent of the Browns’ special teams snaps.
  • Fullback Tommy Bohanon and receiver Larry Pinkard have signed with the Jaguars, tweets the team’s account. Bohanon is the only with NFL experience, having logged 36 appearances and 14 starts as a Jet from 2013-15.
  • Speaking of the Jets, they have re-signed linebacker Julian Stanford (via Randy Lange of the team’s site). The Jets could Stanford on Friday, but both sides knew that was only a procedural move. Last season was the first as a Jet for the 26-year-old Stanford, who appeared in nine games (two starts) and played about a quarter of their defensive snaps and a third of their special teams snaps.

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.

Steelers Host Marlon Humphrey, Obi Melifonwu

Steelers To Host Reuben Foster

  • The Steelers plan to host Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster next week, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com. Foster has some off-field concerns and injury issues, but he’s still the best off-ball linebacker in this year’s class, so he probably won’t be around when Pittsburgh comes on the clock at No. 30 barring a draft-day all. The Steelers already boast one of the league’s best inside linebackers in Ryan Shazier, while Vince Williams is projected to replace Lawrence Timmons, who signed with Miami.

Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney Dead At 84

Steelers chairman Dan Rooney has passed away at the age of 84, the team announced on Thursday afternoon. He leaves behind a resoundingly positive legacy as one of the NFL’s most beloved owners. Dan Rooney (vertical)

Rooney was the son of Art Rooney, the founder of the franchise. As Judy Battista of NFL.com writes, Rooney’s entire life from birth centered around the Steelers. He worked as a ball boy for the team as a teenager, signed players to contracts as a college student, and even found his way to ticket and ad sales. Before ascending to the top, Rooney worked in every possible facet of the organization.

The Steelers hired Chuck Noll largely because of Rooney’s influence and he also pushed his football operations department to draft Ben Roethlisberger. In addition to revolutionizing the Steelers, he also had a profound effect on the league as a whole. The “Rooney Rule” ensures that black coaching candidates get a fair shake in the interviewing process and commissioners Pete Rozelle, Paul Tagliabue, and Roger Goodell all leaned on him for advice along the way.

We here at Pro Football Rumors extend our condolences to the Rooney family.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.