Martavis Bryant last played in an NFL game on Nov. 11, 2018, for the Oakland Raiders, before being suspended indefinitely. That proverbial rock was recently kicked over when he was recently reinstated by the league, though he did play in the CFL and most recently in the XFL last season during his time away.
A fourth-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2014, Bryant was suspended for the first four games of his second season for violating the NFL's substance policy. He violated the policy again, and was suspended for the entire 2016 season. He had 50 catches for the Steelers the following season, but then they traded him to the Raiders.
Bryant played eight games for the Raiders in 2018, before the aforementioned indefinite suspension for violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement. Why he was reinstated now is pretty weird, but on Tuesday the Dallas Cowboys signed him to their practice squad. Dallas is about the least surprising team to sign him.
Martavis Bryant would been a no-upside flier for the Lions
According to NFL insider Jordan Schultz, the Lions were among two other teams who had interest in Bryant. The Tennessee Titans were next up for a visit if the Cowboys hadn't signed him.
The Lions have been somewhere in the market for a wide receiver since Marvin Jones left the team to tend to a personal matter. They of course acquired Donovan Peoples-Jones from the Cleveland Browns at the trade deadline to fulfill that need.
But Bryant was officially reinstated last Saturday, so the Lions' reported interest in him would seem to have come after acquiring Peoples-Jones. Where it got to is unclear, but a workout/visit apparently didn't have time to happen.
Any team who wants Bryant now could try to sign him off the Cowboys' practice squad, but they'd have to sign him to their 53-man roster. It's safe to assume no one is doing that just yet, and the Lions didn't get the chance to bring him onto their practice squad.
Bryant will turn 32 next month, and he last played an NFL game almost exactly five years ago. Even as complete fliers go he's a reach, and the low risk is matched by the low reward.
We'll see how long Bryant lasts with the Cowboys, but there's no real upside left and the Lions were saved from possibly seriously entertaining the move.