The future of Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant is uncertain, but general manager Kevin Colbert says the team plans to stick by Bryant during his one-year suspension. Colbert said releasing Bryant was never considered after his suspension for violating the NFL’s substance policy. It was Bryant’s second suspension in eight months. Bryant seemed poised for a breakout season before his suspension, after catching 50 passes for 765 yards and six touchdowns last season.
“We have to prepare for what we have to do without him in 2016,” Colbert told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Sunday from the NFL meetings in Boca Raton, Fla. “After all that is taken care of, we will revisit it, but as of right now, as (Steelers president) Art (Rooney II) said, we support him, but in all honesty, what happens is totally up to him.”
Bryant still has two years remaining on his contract, and can apply for reinstatement in January of 2017. Bryant’s $600,000 salary for next season will be credited to the Steelers’ salary cap.
Without Bryant, Sammie Coates could play a bigger role in the Steelers’ offense next season, joining Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, and Darius Heyward-Bey at wide receiver. The Steelers may also add a wide receiver in the draft, and they have done well drafting at that position.
With Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams at running back, and newly-acquired Ladarius Green at tight end, Colbert still believes the Steelers’ offense can be prolific.
“We feel good about Sammie Coates and his development,” Colbert said. “Unfortunately, Martavis won’t be a part of the team in 2016, but Sammie Coates will be.”