ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Raiders aren’t finished with Martavis Bryant after all.
The club and its former wide receiver have agreed to a one-year contract, a person familiar with the deal confirmed Tuesday. Their reunion comes just 10 days after Bryant was waived following a rocky training camp and amid team belief a suspension was forthcoming. His return does not signify Bryant is in the clear with the NFL.
ESPN reported Sunday that Bryant is facing a one-year suspension for possibly violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Players remain eligible for competition until an appeals process is completed. The Raiders are in dire need for a deep threat on offense, so they can use Bryant in the interim. Likewise, Bryant can continue his career and earn pay.
His future ability to do the latter would be severely threatened if a one-year suspension is levied.
That same Sunday report stated a resolution on Bryant’s case could come “as early as this week.” None appears to have arrived yet.
On Tuesday, a league spokesman was reached in attempt to shed light on Bryant’s standing with the league, particularly whether or not Bryant’s impending signing with the Raiders was in response to him having won an appeal in the months-long matter. Since June, the Raiders were known to have feared discipline related to Bryant, who missed all of 2016 to suspension for the same policy.
The league generally does not comment on open matters.
“We have no comment,” the spokesman said Tuesday.
The Raiders sorely lacked a deep threat on offense in Monday’s season-opener, a 33-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Bryant’s talents would help stretch the field this Sunday against the Denver Broncos. His combination of size and speed are partially what prompted coach Jon Gruden to expend a 2018 third-round draft selection on April 26 when acquiring Bryant from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On Sept. 2, one day after Bryant was waived, Gruden explained the cut decision as the result of wide receiver Keon Hatcher outplaying Bryant. He dismissed the notion the Raiders miscalculated when trading for him, a move that was widely criticized at the time for its risk.
“I think the guy is a superb talent,” Gruden said. “We released our second-round draft choice last year and the year before and the year before that. Not everything is a perfect science, but we’ll be criticized for that. It was risk, I thought, well worth taking. Perhaps we get Martavis again next year, and we can get the best out of him.”
Re-signing Bryant took far less time than that.
NFL Network first reported his contract agreement.