Sure, it took an enormous fluke, but the schizophrenic Steelers topped the previously unbeaten Chiefs and are right back in the thick of the AFC chase. They’re there without much success from No. 2 receiver Martavis Bryant, and his frustrations have reached the point where he’s requested a trade.
NFL Network first reported Bryant’s trade request, while ESPN adds that the request was made weeks ago. Bryant is unhappy with his role in the offense; he’s fourth on the team in receptions and third in targets, and is increasingly losing catches and snaps to rookie WR JuJu Smith-Schuster.
So far in 2017, Bryant has 17 catches on 34 targets (not a good ratio!) for 231 yards and one touchdown. Sunday’s win against K.C. was his quietest game yet; he hauled in just two balls on three targets for 27 yards. He was matched up against Marcus Peters, the Chiefs’ top corner, so that explains some of it, but it’s still weirdly low for the second receiver in a balanced offense that runs a lot of two-WR sets. After the win (and after the reports of his trade request came out), Bryant didn’t sound so frustrated:
(That’s a 180 from Bryant’s girlfriend’s now deleted tweets, in which she said the Steelers “should have seen [the trade request] coming,” and blamed them for “taking him off the field, not giving the ball or the chance to reach his full potential.”)
Bryant is still on his rookie deal through next season, which would actually be his fifth season with Pittsburgh; he missed all of 2016 after being suspended by the league for smoking weed. The Steelers reportedly claim not to be interested in trading Bryant, but if they change their minds, the deadline is Oct. 31.