Following a Week 6 win, Chicago Bears media and fans were buzzing about Ian Rapport’s tweet that Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant had apparently requested to be traded following their win against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Many speculated whether or not the Bears should inquire about trading for Bryant following their massive struggles for production from their wide receivers this year. Although Bryant is talented, it would prove in the Bears best interest not to pursue a trade for the Pittsburgh wide receiver.
Bryant entered the league back in 2014 when he was drafted by the Steelers in the 4th round out of Clemson. In just 27 games, he has caught 15 touchdowns and has averaged 57 yards per game. His best season came in 2015 when he caught 50 catches for 765 yards averaging 15.3 yards per catch that season.
In 2016, Bryant was suspended for the entire season after he failed his second drug test, he failed his first the year before and was suspended for just four games. It is also important to note that so far through four seasons, the most games he has played in has been 11.
Throughout this decade, there have been many Steelers wide receivers that have had great years that have led to interest from other teams once the receiver has been available one way or another.
The first was Santonio Holmes who was traded from the Steelers to the New York Jets in 2010. Before joining the Jets, the most catches Holmes had in a season were 52 in 2009. In his first year in New York, he matched that high only to see his numbers gradually decrease every year after that before being cut by the Bears in 2014.
The next big name wide receiver from Pittsburgh that was heavily sought after was then Pro Bowler Mike Wallace who was seen as the premier deep threat for a few seasons in the NFL.
In 2013 he became a free agent and signed with the Miami Dolphins and had a highly productive season setting a career high in catches with 73 and accumulating 930 receiving yards. Since 2013 though, Wallace has played for three teams in a four-year span as he has played for the Vikings and Ravens after two seasons with the Dolphins.
Following Wallace’s departure, The Steelers then lost their second best wide receiver in Emmanuel Sanders who left after the 2013 season as a free agent and signed with the Denver Broncos.
Sanders has had a really good career since leaving Pittsburgh recording three-straight seasons of 1,000 yards receiving and has done it with four different quarterbacks over that span. There is an outlier to Sanders’ success as he had Peyton Manning throwing him the ball for the entire 2014 season and parts of the 2015 season.
The Bears themselves are currently experiencing the effect of recent Steelers wide receivers as they signed Markus Wheaton this past offseason. Wheaton missed all of training camp and pre-season with having his appendix removed and breaking his pinkie finger. He has appeared in just three games so far this season with just one catch for nine yards. Wheaton has now been sidelined since last week with a groin injury that will keep him out for several more weeks making his signing even more questionable.
A trade for Bryant could hurt the Bears as well as the value could cost them draft picks they would be better off keeping. With the Trubisky trade this year the Bears will be without a third round pick for the 2018 NFL draft. They could trade either two of their fourth round picks leaving them with just six draft picks, but with Byrant becoming a free agent after this season, the move would not make sense.
Making a big trade could hamper the development of Trubisky as it could put pressure on the young quarterback to take the big risk throwing to his deep threat at wide receiver. The Bears goal on offense right now is to minimize the risk for Trubisky to turn the ball over and with a wide receiver like Bryant, he make be tempted to throw into heavy coverage instead of looking elsewhere to throw. If the Bears rookie quarterback were to struggle after a Bryant trade, the fan base may question or even lose faith in Trubisky stunting his growth even further.
With the recent win and the injury to Aaron Rogers, it is understandable that so many people want the Bears to make the big trade to bolster their chances of winning.
In a division that is usually dominated by the Packers, the Bears do now have a fighting chance, but this would be the wrong move to make at this time. It would be better for the Bears to stay pat with the weapons they have on offense or wait for a trade that does not mortgage their future.
Bryant would be nice, but there are two many concerns to outweigh the rewards. Recent history has shown what happens when wide receivers leave Pittsburgh and general manager Ryan Pace should account for this before thinking of any trade for Bryant.