Bryant was coming off a one-year suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and was watching rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster emerge as the team’s No. 2 receiver behind Antonio Brown.
“JuJu is no where near better than me, fool,” Bryant wrote in response to an Instagram user saying Schuster was better than him. “All they need to do is give me what I want and y’all can have JuJu and whoever else.”
Bryant missed one game before returning to contribute down the stretch during the Steelers’ run to the AFC North crown.
But Smith-Schuster’s emergence along with Bryant’s documented discord had led to speculation that he would be on the outs in the offseason and a report last week that Steelers were openly shopping him.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert firmly shut down that trade talk while speaking with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Wednesday.
“We have never ever made one phone call about Martavis Bryant for a trade,” Colbert said. “Martavis Bryant is a Pittsburgh Steeler, and we want him to continue to be a Pittsburgh Steeler. A lot of kids don’t make it back from a one-year suspension, but he did. We are not in the trade market for [Bryant].”
Colbert did say that teams had reached out to the Steelers about Bryant, but they “quickly dismissed those” inquiries.
It makes sense that the Steelers want to hold onto Bryant, regardless of the baggage he may bring. Bryant is a physical, talented receiver with big-play capabilities who gives the Steelers enviable depth.
The fact that he’s a relative bargain with a base contract of $705,000 in 2018 gives Pittsburgh plenty of motivation to keep him on the roster.