There is clearly something going on with Martavis Bryant.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Thursday night that the Raiders fear the receiver – acquired from Pittsburgh in April – may be facing another suspension. Friday morning, NFL media acknowledged that something is going on. The details are unclear. Perhaps Bryant will be suspended again or perhaps this is a bunch of, um, smoke. Time will tell.
If Bryant is disciplined in the form of missed games, it would be a big blow for the Raiders, who left the offseason workout program this week feeling sky-high under coach Jon Gruden. The following is a look at key storylines if this Bryant situation does turn for the worse:
It would be a disastrous trade: The Raiders’ trade from No. 10 to Arizona for No. 15, a third round and fifth-round pick while on the clock, was panned around the league. Many people thought Oakland could get more. Then, minutes late, Oakland sent that third rounder to the Steelers for Bryant. More skepticism was met. Bryant is a twice suspended player who is entering the final year of his contract. A third-round pick was considered steep. Now, if Bryant is suspended before he plays a down for the Raiders, well, it will not to be received well. Because he has already served a year suspension, Bryant could be facing a severe suspension. If he is suspended, there is a chance he will never play for the Raiders. That would go down as an all-time gaffe.
Dez anyone? If Bryant is suspended, the natural talk would turn to Dez Bryant. The Raiders will have a big hole in their passing game. They’re need reinforcements. There isn’t much out there. There’s Jeremy Maclin and Eric Decker among other receivers. But none of these guys are difference makers. Dez Bryant can be, but there are obstacles. There is no guarantee he would be a good fit for Oakland and he may want a lot of money. But Oakland may be forced to consider Dez.
It would change playbook: Martavis Bryant has a big role in this offense as the No. 3 receiver. They would like 50-60 catches out of him. He is a big part of the vertical passing game. If he is missing a big chunk of the season, Gruden will have to adjust his offense and hope Seth Roberts and Ryan Switzer can handle a bigger role. The addition of Bryant gave the Raiders an improved receiver group from last year. Take him out of the equation and there are holes. There are question marks about Amari Cooper (consistency) and Jordy Nelson (age). If Bryant is out of the mix, the pressure will be on these two even more.
Big hit to Gruden: Gruden’s first offseason has been marked by him taking a lot of risks. Bryant was one of the bigger ones. If it blows up in Gruden’s face, he will have to answer some tough questions. He will also have to think twice before taking risks in the future.
Conclusion: Again, we don’t now if Bryant will be suspended. But Thursday night’s development is scary for Oakland. If Bryant is suspended, Oakland will be in a tough situation for many reasons.