The Steelers were the first team in the NFL Draft to trade a player for a pick as they moved wide receiver Martavis Bryant to Oakland. Oakland gave up a third-round pick (No. 79) for Bryant.
The talented but enigmatic Bryant had asked to be traded out of Pittsburgh last September, and Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said Thursday that Oakland had been “on this for a while” when asked about the deal.
The Steelers received the 79th overall pick, which the Raiders received earlier Thursday night when they traded down in the first round, allowing the Arizona Cardinals to select quarterback Josh Rosen at No. 10.
“It’s like drafting a player,” McKenzie said. “I feel like we drafted Martavis Bryant.”
Bryant missed the entire 2016 season because of a suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy but returned to haul in 50 receptions for 603 yards and three touchdowns last season.
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“He’s ideal in what you’re looking for in a receiver,” McKenzie said. “He can play big, he plays fast, and he makes plays. And we think he can be a dynamic receiver for Derek [Carr].”
The Raiders get a legitimate deep threat who will join Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson and tight end Jared Cook in hopes of making life easier for Derek Carr, who had an inconsistent season in 2017.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said teams called the Steelers during the offseason but weren’t offering enough to warrant a trade for a player of Bryant’s caliber.
Bryant was the perfect deep threat for the Steelers’ offense but fell out of favor last season when he requested a trade and publicly questioned the ability of teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster, who now becomes the team’s clear-cut No. 2 receiver behind Antonio Brown.
Bryant was the team’s fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft. He had 126 receptions for 1,917 yards and 17 touchdowns in three seasons with the Steelers.