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Report: Buffalo Bills tried to trade for Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant last season

Imagine what could have been...

Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills tried to acquire Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant before last season’s trade deadline, per a report from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. At the time, It was widely reported that Bryant was unhappy in Pittsburgh and had informed the team of his desire to be traded. Even now, the belief is that Bryant desires to be a No. 1 option, something that he obviously isn’t in Pittsburgh playing alongside superstar Antonio Brown and talented young stud JuJu Smith-Schuster.

As the Steelers’ third option at wide receiver last season, Bryant totaled 603 yards and three touchdowns on 50 receptions. He owns career totals of 1,917 yards and 17 touchdowns on 126 receptions. Numbers aside, anyone who’s watched Bryant over his career has seen his potential to become a go-to option. He has red flags - he’s missed time because of multiple violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, including all of the 2016 season - but it’s pretty fair to say that he’s got most of the physical skills that a true No. 1 threat would need.

The Steelers put out feelers on a potential Bryant trade, per Fowler, but didn’t like any of the offers they received. Fowler believes the Steelers likely didn’t receive any offers better than a fourth-round pick.

So why would the Bills, who were 5-2 by the time the trade deadline came and went, be interested in acquiring Bryant?

Well, the Bills had (and have) a huge need at wide receiver, so acquiring Bryant makes sense. He’s long and fast, and seemingly would have provided the Bills with the deep threat that they so badly lacked last season. Further to that, the team had no clear No. 1 option - exactly what Bryant was looking for.

Ultimately, the Bills got their receiver, only he came in the form of former Carolina Panther Kelvin Benjamin. Benjamin and Bryant were born in the same year (1991), but that’s where the comparison stops. As good as the Steelers wideout is, there’s no denying that Benjamin has proven to be superior thus far.

With NFL Network recently reporting that the Steelers are at least willing to listen to offers for Bryant, it begs asking whether the Bills would be interested once again in trading for Bryant.

Would they? One would have to think probably not.

Other than dealing with Benjamin as Buffalo’s No. 1 wideout, the other problem with trading for Bryant is that he’s set to become a free agent in 2019. It makes no sense for the Bills to give up anything for Bryant when they would seemingly stand a tough time trying to get him to sign an extension prior to free agency. If the Bills really are intent on one day landing him, their best bet is to wait until next offseason.