The obvious hint that Terrelle Pryor may not strike it rich the way he was hoping this free-agent season came when his former team, the Browns, took their oodles of cap space and handed $32.5 million to WR Kenny Britt.
Cleveland’s decision not to spend its franchise tag on Pryor was met with mixed reactions, but it never was much of a secret that the front office had a different opinion of Pryor’s worth than the receiver himself—and, one can assume, his agent—did.
“We’re still looking forward to working towards finding some middle ground with Terrelle to bring him back and have him as a Cleveland Brown for a long time,” GM Sashi Brown said at the NFL combine. “I think we’d like to have Terrelle back and that’s a priority for us. That said, we’re not going to panic if he’s not back.”
With Britt a Brown, Pryor headed elsewhere, signing Friday with Washington for one year and $8 million, per Master Tesfatsion of TheWashington Post.
There’s really no way around it: That has to be a disappointing outcome for Pryor, especially given how the receiver market had played out to date. Britt and Kenny Stills (four years, $32 million) landed with per-year averages in line with Pryor’s haul, but both received longer contracts and more guaranteed money. Alshon Jeffery also took a one-year offer, from the Eagles, but his came with a $14 million price tag.
Pryor, who turns 28 in June, now only can hope to follow up his breakthrough 2016 season with another 1,000-yard campaign that vaults him into free agency again next off-season. By then, at least, he’ll have two years’ worth of experience as a full-time receiver under his belt. That he hit free agency this time around with just his ’16 showing to fall back on ultimately appears to have worked against him.
The Redskins needed a move like this to keep their offense from fading next season. They lost both DeSean Jackson (to Tampa Bay) and Pierre Garcon (to San Francisco) this week. That duo combined for 2,046 yards last season.
Also gone is former offensive coordinator Sean McVay, who took the Rams’ coaching job. It’s still up for debate how franchise-tagged QB Kirk Cousins—assuming he’s not traded—might fare under new O.C. Matt Cavanaugh, but Pryor should help offset those Jackson and Garcon departures.
Even minus the Jackson/Garcon pairing, Pryor will have to compete for targets against the likes of TE Jordan Reed and up-and-coming receivers Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder. He may find it tough to match the 140 targets Cleveland fed him last season.
What will free agency hold for Pryor a year from now? That all depends on how he plays in Washington, but this journey onto the market has to feel like a letdown.