Terrelle Pryor had a great season last year, to say the least. He has been the unanimous best player on the 1-15 Cleveland Browns and has proved to so many that he can be a star in this league. Looking back on his fantastic 2016 season, Cincinnati could find themselves regretting the day they released him. Could they be considering a reunion?
On May 10, 2015, the Cincinnati Bengals signed then quarterback Terrelle Pryor. He was later released a month later after A.J. McCarron proved that he could handle the lone backup spot. No one is mad at that. McCarron has proved to be a great backup and could find himself in the position to be a starter in the league sooner rather than later. However, the day after Pryor was released, he released a statement via his agent stating that he would switch positions from quarterback to wide receiver.
Terrelle took arguably his last chance in the NFL and signed with the Cleveland Browns. Even though he was always praised for his versatility at Ohio State and especially in Oakland, his time with the Raiders, wasn’t great. experienced brief success under head coach Hue Jackson. However, when Jackson became the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, the reunion lit a fire within Pryor.
The new wide receiver quickly became a starter and finished the season with 1,007 yards and 4 touchdowns. For Pryor to have a 1,000-yard season on a team that started more than four quarterbacks, went 1-15 and didn’t have one threat on offense, one could say Pryor’s first year was a success despite, just barely getting over the 1,000-yard mark.
Pryor also reached this important mark, with a torn ligament in his finger and failure to reach 50 yards in 9 out of 16 games. That could mean Pryor had a few good performances. But, with taking all of the obstacles he had to overcome with the Browns in consideration, it’s more of a positive than a negative that he can still reach that 1,000-yard mark despite great performances in the majority of their games.
Let’s Talk Free Agency
So, what about Pryor? Yes, he had a great year, but what does it mean? For the Cleveland Browns, it now means that Pryor could be a hot commodity. While Pryor is coming off a strong year, the downside is that he is surrounded by a deep pool of very good wide receivers. The top-tier receivers include players such as DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Pierre Garcon and Kenny Britt. The tier-two guys include Kenny Stills, Kendall Wright, Cordarrelle Patterson, Robert Woods and Michael Floyd among others
Pryor certainly has leverage, but the Browns also can’t afford to spend big money on a wide receiver that frankly didn’t help them win games last year. There’s just too many holes on that team at the moment.
I believe that it’s better for Pryor to stay under the tutelage of Hue Jackson. However, he has repeatedly said, “The numbers have to make sense.” If the Browns can’t resign him and most teams opt to take a wide receiver who has more experience at the position, then Cincinnati should consider bringing Pryor back to the Queen City.
The Bengals currently have their No. 2 wideout heading into free agency this offseason. Brandon Lafell had a comeback season like no other for Cincinnati but could be facing some potential suitors himself. Once again, I think Cincinnati should retain Lafell, but if they can’t, what then?
Pairing him with A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd is something to really consider. After a year at wide receiver, Pryor looks like he can be a great No. 2 if he just had a threat on the other side. In Cincinnati, he’d have one of the best wide receivers in the league joining him. Green, Boyd, and Pryor would give defenses a headache trying to stop them, especially with a Tyler Eifert in the mix.
If Lafell gets away from Cincinnati, the Bengals should certainly look at Pryor next. If he’s gone then perhaps Stills.