Editor’s Note: With the NFL trade deadline next week, SB Nation sites will be discussing potential trades. While many of these ideas are unlikely to happen, it is something to consider in the final week of potentially meaningful transactions for the 2017 season — especially for a struggling team in the middle of a rebuild.
I have to start out by saying that I’ve been an avid Donte Moncrief supporter since the day he stepped on an NFL field as an Indianapolis Colt #GOGA. Also, the lack of Luck’s availability during Moncrief’s stint here, combined with his own health issues, has sapped the duo of the time needed to properly build the chemistry necessary between a receiver and his quarterback.
Even still, the clock is ticking on his time here.
He is not a player that current GM Chris Ballard picked himself, and it doesn’t help that he’s posted only 18 catches, 271 yards and 1 touchdown this season, with a catch percentage of 56.3%.
That’s not a good look for the second option in an offense.
Basically, there’s no doubt he’ll walk this off-season and become a superstar for the New England Patriots. This is where the recent rumor mill surrounding Martavis Bryant comes in to play.
I know, he’s showcasing the symptoms of a head case that can barely stay on the field due to off-field issues, but what is there to lose?
The season is essentially over, Andrew Luck is almost certainly out until at least December, if not more. Malik Hooker just tore his ACL and MCL (that hurts to type) and the Colts just lost two key divisional matchups in a row. So why not see if the Colts can steal an asset from another AFC club, without worrying too much about if his lack of playbook knowledge will hurt the team or not?
Bryant has a similar, if not upgraded athletic profile as Moncrief and could clearly use a fresh start. His run after catch ability is an added feature of the offense that hasn’t been present since Luck arrived as the number one overall pick in 2012, and is an asset that could really make life easier on the quarterback.
Am I guaranteeing that Bryant will post more productive numbers than Moncrief has? No, but I don’t expect that he’ll be much worse, either. In fact, his season statistics are very similar to Moncrief’s with 18 catches, 234 yards, 1 touchdown and a 50% catch rate. But we can’t ignore the fact that he’s being targeted by Ben Roethlisberger rather than the likes of Scott Tolzien and Jacoby Brissett.
Though to be fair to Bryant, the Steelers have a target hog in Antonio Brown, an elite running back in Le’Veon Bell, and 2nd round pick JuJu Smith-Schuster has overtaken him on the depth chart, which all factor into his subpar performances.
Of course, most of the blame still falls on himself.
Even though Bryant may be struggling this season, his explosion and aptitude to turn a short throw into a long gain haven't just dissipated into thin air. Why not see if the Colts can capture that magic again?
Worst case scenario, Bryant walks and the Colts lose out on a player that would have strolled into another facility in 2018 anyway. But there are two sides to every story and we have to wonder if the Pittsburgh Steelers would even accept this trade.
With Bryant’s aforementioned comments on Instagram, mixed with his recent suspensions, his trade value should be severely reduced. Plummeted to the point where he may not even garner buzz on the trade market, and simply get cut from the squad instead.
However, I can see a contender like the Kansas City Chiefs or Patriots at least offering a late round pick for Bryant’s services. Is Moncrief, on an expiring contract, more valuable than a late-rounder to the Steelers? Only they can answer that question, but it’s not at all outside the realm of possibility for a team in the playoff hunt.
Naturally, I have my hesitations.
I’m not a fan of bringing in players that whine and complain about their role, especially when they are playing on a conditional reinstatement from the commissioner. And speaking of his reinstatement, Bryant is one misstep away from being suspended indefinitely, which is another gigantic red flag.
But again, would that be such a big loss considering the price tag is another player that may not don the blue and white going forward, anyway?
Certainly, it’s important to think about how this may impact the locker room, especially one that is as fragile as the one in Indianapolis is. But this is where the front office would need to earn its payday, and look into how much of a history Bryant has with this type of behavior.
While I do hope the franchise can bring Moncrief back on a cheap deal, as his potential still exists and could be cultivated with a healthy Luck, it doesn’t seem to be a likely scenario. Bryant could be the one the Colts sign on a discounted deal instead.
For those who might be wondering, I’m not sure Moncrief would garner a compensatory pick. It’s hard to imagine he would demand a big enough contract, considering he hasn’t posted an 800-yard season once in his career.
Now, I ask you, do Bryant’s pros outweigh his cons? Would the Steelers even consider this trade? Is Moncrief leaving Indy after this year? What potential trade assets are you interested in?
Mike Tomlin on Martavis Bryant: “He’s not available via trade.”— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 24, 2017