Martavis Bryant is about to enter the final year of his contract. In all probability, it will also be his last year as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. If Martavis has a great season, he will likely price himself out of the Steelers range. On the other hand, if he has another sub-par season the team likely won’t bring him back. Of course they could always use the franchise tag if Martavis had an outstanding season. If you thought the Le’veon Bell franchise tag saga was bad however, it’s bound to be much worse with Bryant on it.
There are signs that the breakout season is about to hit for Martavis Bryant. The second half of 2017 saw him grab 32 of the 50 total catches he had for the season. Add to that the 2 catches for 78 yards and 1TD in the playoff game versus Jacksonville, and the trajectory was certainly pointing up. Bryant is heading into 2018 with a full season under his belt after knocking off the rust of missing 2016 entirely. He will also be getting a fresh start with a new offensive coordinator in Randy Fichtner. Maybe Fichtner can unlock the mystery as to why he and Roehtlisberger struggled to get on the same page most of last year. Bryant’s physical tools are unquestionable, it’s the immaturity that really held him back. With a troubled year behind him, a more settled Martavis Bryant could become an extremely dangerous weapon going forward.
All that said, why not try to lock their enigmatic receiver up to a three or four-year deal? Is Martavis Bryant really in a position to turn down a team friendly deal? Let’s say something like a 3 year, $5 million dollar per season contract. This would give Bryant some financial stability, while not overextending the risk to the team. The range of outcomes for the rest of Bryant’s career can go anywhere from Randy Moss to Mike Williams. A short-term deal at reasonable money seems like a good risk to take, especially if he were to ever hit the top range of that scale. Better to get ahead of a potential breakout, than to be left behind by it.