Martavis Bryant

NFL Reserve/Futures Deals: 1/17/24

Wednesday’s reserve/futures contracts:

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

Pittsburgh Steelers

Bryant joined the Cowboys in November, and though he didn’t appear in any games, Bryant left a good impression in Dallas after several weeks on the practice squad. He was released late in the season as the team shuffled the roster a bit but makes his return to Dallas for the offseason.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 1/4/24

Today’s practice squad transactions:

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Kansas City Chiefs

New York Giants

Isaiah Buggs will provide the Chiefs with some defensive line depth as they head into the playoffs. After playing a part-time role with the Steelers to begin his career, Buggs joined the Lions in 2022 and proceeded to have a career season, finishing with 46 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble in 17 games (13 starts).

That performance earned him a two-year, $6MM extension this past offseason. However, his playing time dropped in 2023, and he collected 12 tackles and one sack in 10 games (three starts) before getting released earlier this week.

NFC East Notes: Neal, Cowboys, Commanders

While the Giants have seen Andrew Thomas become one of the NFL’s better tackles — en route to a $23.5MM-per-year extension — they have not observed their right tackle make a second-year leap. Evan Neal has missed time with injuries and struggled when on the field. Thomas was a Dave Gettleman draft choice, while Neal went in Joe Schoen‘s first draft in charge. Pro Football Focus has assigned this season’s third-worst tackle grade to Neal. The Alabama product was seen as a player who could potentially slide to guard at some point, having played there at times in college. For the time being, Schoen is not entertaining such a switch.

No, I don’t think so,” Schoen said, via the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy. “We are looking forward to getting him back, but he knows there are some things he can do better — and that’s what we expect from him. … I went back and watched the Alabama stuff: The kid can play. We just have to get him to be more consistent. I have a lot of confidence in Evan.”

In 20 starts over two seasons, PFF charges Neal with 10 sacks allowed. Just two of those have come this year, but the former No. 7 overall pick has missed five games. Neal has missed five of the Giants’ past six contests; the team has not placed him on IR. The Giants will certainly hope to see signs of promise from Neal down the stretch.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • DaRon Bland has morphed from a 2022 fifth-round pick into an NFL record holder, via the fifth pick-six he notched on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys could see two cornerbacks become first-team All-Pros in three seasons, after Trevon Diggs‘ 11-INT season landed him on the 2021 top team. Diggs’ 2023 replacement played at Division I-FCS Sacramento State and then spent a year at Fresno State. Cowboys scout Ross Wuensche identified Bland as a target,’s Ian Rapoport notes (video link), and the team brought him in for a visit. Describing Bland as a late-blooming prospect, Rapoport adds interest came in late enough he could not turn all his invitations for “30” into meetings before the 2022 deadline. With Stephon Gilmore‘s contract up after this season, the Cowboys extended Diggs and have Bland signed through 2025.
  • Recent Cowboys pickup Martavis Bryant remains in redevelopment mode. The team has not elevated its practice squad stash for a game yet, making it now more than five years since the former Steelers starter has played in an NFL game. No timetable is in place for a Bryant move to the active roster, but executive VP Stephen Jones said (via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill) the team sought the recent XFL wideout for his size-speed combo. The Cowboys are fairly well stocked at receiver, but Bryant’s 6-foot-4 frame would be a new dimension for this particular Dallas receiving cadre. It remains to be seen if the soon-to-be 32-year-old pass catcher still has NFL-viable form left.
  • Having fired DC Jack Del Rio after a Cowboys Thanksgiving romp, Ron Rivera is set to call the Commanders‘ defensive plays. The team also fired multi-stop Del Rio lieutenant Brent Vieselmeyer, who was Washington’s DBs coach this season. To help manage the workload, Rivera hired Jimmy Salgado as an interim staffer,’s Adam Schefter tweets. Salgado had spent six seasons on Sean McDermott‘s Bills staff, but the team fired him this offseason. Salgado spent the 2023 season at Michigan State, working as the Spartans’ cornerbacks coach.

Cowboys To Sign WR Martavis Bryant

Despite not playing an NFL game since 2018, Martavis Bryant has secured another gig. Recently reinstated, the veteran wide receiver has a deal in place with the Cowboys, according to The Athletic NBA reporter Shams Charandia.

The Cowboys brought in Bryant for a Tuesday workout. Had the Cowboys not agreed to sign Bryant, the former Steelers draftee had a meeting arranged with the Titans. But Dallas will take a flier on the former starter, with Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz tweeting it is a practice squad deal.

While this reminds of Josh Gordon‘s 2017 return after 2 1/2 seasons away, Bryant has doubled Gordon’s time away from the game. The NFL reinstated Bryant last week, and although he will turn 32 next month, it is certainly interesting a few teams showed immediate interest in a player after so much time off. The Lions also expressed interest in Bryant, according to Schultz. The Cowboys are not planning to immediately elevate Bryant to the active roster, per CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson, eyeing a gradual buildup. Given Bryant’s past, this makes sense.

The NFL banned Bryant indefinitely on Dec. 14, 2018. This came for repeated violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy. The 2011 CBA featured harsher punishments for substance abuse. Partially in exchange for agreeing to move to a 17-game regular season, the NFLPA received various concessions in the 2020 CBA. One of those came in the form of leniency on the substance-abuse front. Still, it has been more than 3 1/2 years since that CBA’s ratification. Like Gordon, Bryant will be given another opportunity. Although Gordon relapses interfered with his comeback bid — one that eventually saw the former All-Pro’s form deteriorate to the point he was no longer a sought-after player — the Cowboys will see what Bryant has left in the tank.

Like Gordon, Bryant played in the again-rebooted XFL this season. Gordon fared much better, catching 38 passes for 540 yards. Bryant, meanwhile, caught 14 passes for 154 yards in eight games with the Vegas Vipers. The Cowboys clearly liked what they saw from the former Steelers and Raiders auxiliary pass catcher, and they will see if he can come in as a tertiary target for Dak Prescott.

Back in the 2010s, Bryant was viewed as a high-ceiling talent. The Clemson alum showcased those skills at points in Pittsburgh, totaling 1,314 yards and 14 touchdown receptions between the 2014 and ’15 seasons. Bryant added an acrobatic TD in the Steelers’ narrow wild-card win over the Bengals in 2015, residing as an intriguing Antonio Brown sidekick pre-JuJu Smith-Schuster. But Bryant received drug suspensions in 2015 and ’16. Bryant received a four-game suspension in August 2015 and a full-season ban in March 2016. This led to the indefinite ban two years later.

Bryant’s rookie contract tolled to 2017, when he added 603 receiving yards for a 13-3 Steelers team, but Pittsburgh dealt the embattled wideout to Oakland in 2018. While the 6-foot-4 receiver flashed frequently during his 2010s run, it would be highly unlikely to see him return to that level after so much time away. But the XFL could be viewed as a ramp-up period for Bryant. The Cowboys have enjoyed good fortune with players from the spring leagues. They saw USFL return man KaVontae Turpin earn All-Pro acclaim last season, and USFL kicker Brandon Aubrey is off to a flawless start upon signing with the team. Aubrey is 19-for-19 on field goals thus far as a Cowboy.

The Cowboys aimed to sign Odell Beckham Jr. last season but were not satisfied with his post-ACL-tear form. They ended up adding T.Y. Hilton. The 11-year veteran made a key reception in a win over the Eagles last season. This year, Dallas acquired Brandin Cooks from Houston. Cooks has joined Michael Gallup as starters alongside CeeDee Lamb. Bryant brings size the Cowboys’ starters do not, however, with none of the first-stringers standing more than 6-1. Turpin (5-9) and 2022 third-round pick Jalen Tolbert (6-1) are in place as backups. Seventh-round rookie Jalen Brooks is also on Dallas’ 53-man roster. It will be interesting to see if Bryant sees game action as a result of this agreement.

WR Martavis Bryant To Visit Cowboys; Titans Arrange Meeting

5:35pm: Bryant’s free agency tour could continue in Tennessee. The veteran wideout plans to work out with the Titans if he doesn’t sign a deal with the Cowboys tomorrow, per Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz.

9:40am: When news of Martavis Bryant‘s reinstatement came, it was reported he was drawing interest. That has resulted in the first known workout for the veteran wideout in his bid to return to the NFL.

Bryant will visit the Cowboys on Tuesday, per Dianna Russini of The Athletic. That will give him the opportunity to earn what would no doubt be a practice squad deal with Dallas if things go according to plan, as teams routinely take the taxi squad route to slowly bring along veteran additions. The Cowboys currently have one open spot on their practice squad.

The 31-year-old was officially reinstated on Saturday, paving the way for a deal with any interested team. Bryant last played in 2018 during his brief Raiders tenure, and he bounced around other levels of professional football since that time. It would come as a surprise if the former Steelers fourth-rounder made his way onto an active roster (or at least earned notable playing time) down the stretch this season, but an impressive showing in front of the Cowboys could accelerate his return to gameday lineups.

Dallas is set atop the WR depth chart with CeeDee LambBrandin Cooks and Michael Gallup. Lamb has lived up to expectations this year with four games over 117 receiving yards (including each of the past three contests) but the latter two have been much less consistent in complementary roles. The Cowboys also have the likes of Jalen Tolbert and returner KaVontae Turpin as options at the receiver spot.

If Bryant’s workout goes well, he could soon find himself inking a deal with the Cowboys to give the team depth in their pass-catching corps. A strong showing could, however, increase interest from other teams, including those which may offer a clearer path to an active roster spot. It will be interesting to see how tomorrow’s visit plays out.

WR Martavis Bryant Reinstated By NFL

Martavis Bryant is on the comeback trail. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the veteran receiver has been reinstated by commissioner Roger Goodell and is drawing interest around the NFL.

Bryant hasn’t been rostered by an NFL team since the 2018 campaign, when he got into eight games with the Raiders. The wide receiver made a name for himself in Pittsburgh, collecting 1,363 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns through his first two NFL seasons. He was suspended for the entirety of the 2016 season after violating the NFL’s drug policy, but he picked up where he left off in 2017, finishing with 625 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns.

He was traded to the Raiders for a third-round pick during the 2018 offseason, and he proceeded to haul in 19 catches for 266 yards in eight games (two starts) with his new squad. He was later hit with an indefinite ban after violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement, and Bryant hasn’t been on an NFL team since that time.

Over the past few years, Bryant has had brief stints with a couple of Canadian Football League teams, and he was also drafted during the 2023 XFL Skill Players Draft. Earlier this year, he got into four games with the Fan Controlled Football League, collecting eight catches.

Bryant will be 32 in December and hasn’t played in an NFL game in several years, so he’ll be hard pressed to find a roster spot before the season is done. Perhaps he could catch on with a practice squad with hopes of sticking around for the 2024 season.

Vic Beasley, Martavis Bryant, Josh Gordon, Marquette King On XFL Rosters

The XFL will begin its third try next week. The rebooting league’s latest season will begin Feb. 18, nearly two months before USFL 2.0’s second season is scheduled to start.

This setup will make for a strange winter-spring period in which two minor leagues of sorts will be in operation. Considering the short tenures of XFL 2.0 (2020) and the Alliance of American Football (2019), this will be one of the more interesting years for non-NFL football.

Numerous former NFLers line the XFL’s season-opening rosters. Here are some of the players who will be part the league’s latest eight-team configuration. The full rosters can be found here.

Arlington Renegades

King has not punted since the 2018 season, when the Broncos waived him not long after signing the veteran specialist to a multiyear deal. King, 34, punted for the Raiders for five seasons.

D.C. Defenders

Armstead received workout opportunities and landed with multiple teams, but the former Jaguars backup has been unable to regain his footing since missing all of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 complications. A former Packers second-round pick, Murphy has six NFL seasons under his belt. Reid, 31, played eight NFL seasons — most recently suiting up in 2021 — and was a regular for the Lions early in his career. Brice started 10 games for the Packers in 2018; he has not played since.

Houston Roughnecks

Davis started 42 games for the Steelers from 2017-19; he played with three teams during the 2021 season. A

Orlando Guardians

Elam logged 26 starts for the Ravens, but his NFL run stopped after the 2016 season. A former Broncos second-round pick, Latimer played six NFL seasons and ended up a 10-game starter for the Giants in 2019. Lynch was part of the 2016 and ’17 Broncos squads along with Latimer but, despite his first-round status, flamed out of the league after two seasons. He has since spent time in the CFL and USFL.

San Antonio Brahmas

Ballage did not play in the NFL this season but saw action in 17 games for the Steelers in 2021. Wing served as the Giants’ punter for three seasons. Sinnett was with the Dolphins this season, joining the team following Tua Tagovailoa‘s Week 4 concussion.

Seattle Sea Dragons

The biggest name in this XFL edition, Gordon became a journeyman in recent years. He was most recently with the Titans, catching on with Tennessee this year before being released in October. The former All-Pro spent the 2021 season with the Chiefs. Suspensions hijacked the 31-year-old pass catcher’s career. The Cowboys cut DiNucci just before this season, and while workout opportunities came, the former emergency Dallas starter will try his hand in the XFL.

St. Louis BattleHawks

Although McCarron’s most recent action came with the Texans, he was on the 2021 Falcons. A path toward being Matt Ryan‘s final backup in Atlanta closed after a preseason ACL tear. Workouts in 2022 did not lead to a signing.

Vegas Vipers

A former top-10 pick and NFL sack leader, Beasley has been out of the league since the 2020 season. The ex-Super Bowl starter’s one-year, $9.5MM deal did not work out for the Titans, who cut the edge rusher during the ’20 campaign. Bryant has been out of the league longer, with suspensions altering his path. The talented ex-Steeler spent time in Canada recently. Hundley was on the Ravens’ practice squad until season’s end this year, signing with the team after Lamar Jackson‘s ankle injury.

Extra Points: Rooney Rule, Booth, CFL, USFL

The NFL made more adjustments to the Rooney Rule this week. Teams must go into the season with a minority coach or a woman on their offensive staff, Kevin Seifert of notes. This can include a woman of any race, and the NFL also will include women among Rooney Rule requirements going forward. Teams must interview at least two external minority candidates for head coach, coordinator and GM roles; women are now included in this pool. Clubs, however, will not be required to interview female staffers for these positions. The female or minority staffer hired as part of this offense-based initiative must work closely with their respective team’s head coach, Seifert adds, and their respective salaries will be paid via a leaguewide fund. The NFL has a league-record 17 minority defensive coordinators currently, with two teams employing co-DC setups, but 27 of the league’s 31 offensive coordinators (the Patriots do not currently have a staffer in this role) are white.

Here is the latest from around pro football:

  • Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth looms as a first-round prospect, but he will not be ready for his team’s offseason activities. The incoming rookie defender underwent sports hernia surgery, Adam Schefter of tweets. While Booth (Scouts Inc.’s No. 30 overall prospect) is expected to be ready for training camp, it will be a bit before he is healthy.
  • De’Anthony Thomas joined Oregon draft hopefuls in working out at the school’s pro day Friday, with Schefter adding the former Chiefs wide receiver/return man is aiming to make a comeback (Twitter link). A six-year NFL veteran, Thomas has not played since 2019. He was among the first to opt out due to COVID-19 concerns ahead of the 2020 season. The Oregon alum is currently on the British Columbia Lions’ roster in the Canadian Football League, signing with the team in February.
  • Staying in the CFL, Martavis Bryant will receive another chance north of the border. The former Steelers and Raiders wide receiver who battled suspensions in the NFL signed with the CFL’s Edmonton Elks, who are taking a flier on the talented pass catcher despite his refusal to report to the Toronto Argonauts’ training camp in 2021. The Argos held Bryant’s rights last year, but he is now in Edmonton. Bryant last played in the NFL in 2018, catching 19 passes for 266 yards with the Raiders. Bryant posted two 600-plus-yard receiving seasons in Pittsburgh but was suspended three times during his NFL career for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
  • Another spring league will launch this month, with the rebooted USFL beginning play April 16. The latest spring effort’s contracts are structured in a way that will make it a bit more difficult for the XFL to acquire players when its latest relaunch occurs in 2023. The USFL gave its players one-year contracts with team options for 2023, per Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal (via Mike Florio of PFT). None of the recent spring leagues — from the Alliance of American Football (2019) to XFL 2.0 (2020) — finished their respective seasons, so the matter of USFLers’ 2023 contracts is not exactly a front-burner item just yet. Some notable players — like Paxton Lynch, De’Vante Bausby, Kyle Lauletta and other ex-NFLers — are part of this centralized (in Birmingham, Ala.) USFL.

Martavis Bryant Unlikely To Play In 2020

Earlier this month, we heard that Martavis Bryant was set to apply for reinstatement. Over the weekend, Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter) learned that the former Steelers and Raiders wide receiver has not actually submitted the paperwork. Bryant still hopes to play but RapSheet says there’s “more work to be done” and, therefore, it seems unlikely that Bryant will play this season. 

[RELATED: Raiders, Henry Ruggs Agree To Deal]

Bryant, 27, has been seeking treatment for mental health issues, including ADHD. He’s been in hot water with the league office on multiple occasions over the years, including the 2016 season was that was wiped out by a substance-abuse ban. Last year, he “seriously angered” the NFL during his appeal process and he’s been critical of Roger Goodell‘s handling of players with mental health issues in the past.

At last check, Bryant was taking drug tests to prove his sobriety. In order to be reinstated, he’ll have to test clean, and continue to test clean over time.

The Raiders gave up the No. 79 overall pick in the 2018 draft to acquire Bryant from the Steelers. In eight games, Bryant caught 19 passes for 266 yards. Previous to that, Bryant notched 17 touchdowns in just 36 contests for the Steelers, while averaging 15.2 yards per catch. He’s a talented deep threat, but he’ll have to get his affairs in order before he can retake the field.

Martavis Bryant Applies For Reinstatement

Suspended again for substance-abuse issues, Martavis Bryant filed for reinstatement on Monday, per Dan Graziano of The former Steelers and Raiders wide receiver has been suspended since December.

The 27-year-old wide receiver has worked with the NFL and NFLPA on his mental health, with the league and the union aiding Bryant regarding therapists and ADHD treatment, Graziano adds. This the latest in a line of Bryant bans; he missed all of the 2016 season because of a substance-abuse suspension and had been sidelined for stints of previous seasons.

It is not certain, however, that Bryant will play again. The deep threat “seriously angered” the NFL during his appeal process last year. Another report indicated Bryant has been critical of the league’s limited assistance to players dealing with mental health issues. But he will attempt to convince Roger Goodell and Co. he has taken the necessary steps to return to the league. Bryant initially planned to apply for reinstatement in May, per’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter), but waited in order to attempt to take further steps toward self-improvement. Graziano adds that Bryant has submitted to drug testing over the past several months, and those tests have presumably come back clean.

The NFL green-lit a Josh Gordon return last year, only to watch him again succumb to the substance-abuse problems with which he’s frequently dealt. Substance abuse has sidetracked Gordon’s career more than Bryant’s, but the once-promising wideout saw his troubles interfere with his earning potential. Bryant (two 600-plus-yard seasons) did not make it to a point he could command a lofty receiver deal, being traded to the Raiders in the final year of his rookie contract and playing eight games last season (266 yards) under the cloud of another suspension.