It was a rough season for the Cleveland Browns last year…the worst in team history in fact. If not for a 20-17 win over the San Diego Chargers in Week 16, the Browns would’ve been just the second team in NFL history to go 0-16.
One of the few bright spots of this dismal season was the transformation of Terrelle Pryor from a failed quarterback to a top-notch receiver. Although not quite Antonio Brown yet, he did secure 77 catches for 1,007 yards and 4 touchdowns.
With so much cap money that they can trade for Brock Osweiler, many wondered if the Browns would put the franchise tag on Pryor, making his 2017 salary worth $16 million. Cleveland didn’t do so, making him a free agent who’s currently being courted by several teams.
There’s no telling how much he’ll command now because, based on Cleveland’s situation last year, it’s hard to judge Pryor’s value.
He was a thousand-yard receiver on a team that used 5 different quarterbacks throughout the year – none of whom threw more than 128 passes. Things got so bad that Charlie Whitehurst even started a game.
Another point is that this was Pryor’s first season as a full-time wide receiver. This alone makes him an intriguing prospect, and one who could become elite given time.
Earlier, we mentioned Antonio Brown, who inked a 5-year, $72-million deal to stay with the Pittsburgh Steelers. This included a $19 million signing bonus, and $29 million in guaranteed money.
Brown is widely regarded as the league’s best receiver, so Pryor isn’t getting this kind of money from the Browns or anybody else. But the question is, how close can Rosenhaus get him to this figure?
There’s incentive for Cleveland to keep him around because they’re the ones who helped this 27-year-old quarterback change into a very good wideout.
It seems like an impossible task, given the QB situation. But head coach Hue Jackson and receivers coach Al Saunders did it.
Negotiations will be tricky because Pryor has the size (6’4″, 225 pounds) and speed (4.38 forty) of a top-caliber receiver. His hands are also very good because he dropped just 4 out of 81 passes that hit his hands.
The 2.5 YAC is very surprising, given that Pryor is a sensational all-around athlete.
Nevertheless, Cleveland or any anybody else would love to add him for the right price. “He was an important piece of what we did a year ago,” said Jackson.
Team vice-president Sashi Brown also commented: “We’d like to have Terrelle back. That’s a priority for us… He’s a good player, works hard, we think he fits our system. He had a lot of success with our coaches and we think this is a great place for him to continue his career.”
Brown added that Cleveland “won’t panic” if Pryor signs with another team. They have options too since receivers like DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffrey, Kenny Britt, Kenny Stills, Dontrelle Inman, and former Clevelander Taylor Gabriel are all on the market.
These are all options for a Browns team that chose not to franchise-tag Pryor because they didn’t want to begin salary negotiations at nearly $16 million. But given what they did with Pryor, and what they think he can accomplish, re-signing him is definitely a priority.
This is even more so the case when considering that their two-best receiving options behind Pryor are Gary Barnridge (612 receiving yards) and Duke Johnson Jr. (512).
Pryor can’t magically make Cleveland’s quarterback situation better, but he can help them improve upon last year’s 1-15 record. The only question is if they still have a chance at re-signing him.