Terrelle Pryor, Jets Agree on Contract After 1 Season with Redskins

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 17:  Terrelle Pryor #11 of the Washington Redskins runs after his catch during the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

After a disappointing 2017 season with the Washington Redskins, Terrelle Pryor will look to start fresh in new surroundings. Pryor and the New York Jets came to agreement on a contract Sunday.

The Jets later posted a video of Pryor after making the contract official:

New York Jets @nyjets

🛫 https://t.co/C9VX3bLNZA

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport first reported the two sides were closing in on a contract Thursday.

In what was only his second season as a full-time wide receiver in the NFL, Pryor had 77 receptions for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns in 2016 for the Cleveland Browns. Despite his on-field success, he signed a one-year contract with Washington worth just $8 million.

In particular, many wondered why the wideout-starved Browns opted against re-signing Pryor, especially since they gave Kenny Britt a four-year deal that included $17 million guaranteed.

Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson gave Washington a "B" grade for the Pryor contract, writing the former Ohio State star had "near limitless upside." Monson added the deal showed "the league clearly isn't quite ready to buy into the idea that he is worth a huge payday yet."

Pryor justified that skepticism by logging 20 receptions for 240 yards and one touchdown in nine games. He underwent season-ending ankle surgery in November. 

The ankle injury dated back to Washington's 27-20 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 2, and it could partly explain why he had such a poor 2017.

Still, Pryor's decline in performance is concerning, and there's no telling whether he'll be drastically better when he's fully healed from surgery.

For as bad as the Browns' quarterback situation was in 2016—Cody Kessler, Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown all started at various points—Pryor may have benefited from a lack of options in Cleveland's receiving game.

Pryor had 140 targets in 2016. Tight end Gary Barnidge was second on the team with 82 targets, and running back Duke Johnson was third (74). Somebody had to catch passes in Cleveland, and Pryor was by far the team's best aerial threat.

Also consider Pryor was 82nd in catch percentage (55 percent) among the 89 players who had at least 50 receptions in 2016, per Pro Football Reference.

It would appear Pryor's relatively strong receiving numbers in his final season with the Browns didn't accurately reflect his true value, and his one year with Washington did little to discredit that narrative.

There's no question the Jets are assuming some risk by signing Pryor, but his dreadful 2017 will help offset some of that. Expectations around Pryor won't be so high in 2018, and his contract will likely be cheap.

With the Jets likely to select a quarterback with the third overall selection in the 2018 NFL draft, signing an experienced receiver such as Pryor makes sense for the team. Pryor can line up opposite Jermaine Kearse, with Robby Anderson in the slot.

While Pryor isn't a marquee name, this may not be the time for the Jets to make a big investment in the receiver position. That move would be better when the team is more sure of what it has at quarterback.

Pryor fits with New York's adding Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater. Clearly, the Jets want to improve in 2018, but they're also keeping an eye to the future. Perhaps Pryor will ultimately fit into New York's long-term plans. If he doesn't work out, though, then the Jets can look in a different direction in 2019.


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