Washington signed wide receiver Terrelle Pryor to a one-year, $8 million contract.
In 2014, Pryor said, “I don’t know how to catch.” In 2015, Pryor said, “If I can’t play quarterback, I can’t play football.” In 2016, the converted quarterback had 1,007 yards receiving with the Browns in his first full season at the position.
Many quarterbacks have failed at switching to wide receiver, but Pryor looks ready to break that mold and improve on last season’s performance. Even amid his success, it was clear he was still learning the position last year. And he managed to be successful with a tragic parade of Cleveland quarterbacks waylaid by injury. At one point, even he had to play quarterback. When somebody succeeds on the Browns, you always have to wonder, “How much better would he be on a team that isn’t the Browns?”
Let’s recap the beginning of Washington’s free-agency period: First, it lost Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. Then the team fired its general manager, and a club official anonymously attributed the decision to his problems with alcohol. Finally, after much indecision, Washington figured out how to keep Kirk Cousins — at least for now. That left it with no GM, a decent quarterback, and a wasteland at wide receiver.
The best thing for Pryor would be another season to prove he can be a no. 1 wide receiver — and do it without yelling at too many people. And, after Thursday, Washington had a big hole at the top of its depth chart.
Pryor’s contract is for one year. So is Cousins’s franchise tender. This makes sense: When your team fires the person in charge of acquiring football players at the most important time of the year for acquiring football players, there is no long-term strategy.
In this context, this deal is a freakin’ coup for Washington. The team gets a potentially great player without committing to a lengthy deal or using a high draft pick. Considering the current situation, I’m honestly impressed they managed to sign any human.
While Pryor’s deal doesn’t bring him much money — his annual salary is right in line with Detroit’s Marvin Jones and Miami’s Kenny Stills — it puts him in a good position. Many assumed he’d stay in Cleveland, especially since Hue Jackson has been his main supporter throughout his career. (Jackson drafted him in Oakland and the team took a flyer on him when Jackson was an assistant in Cincinnati.) But the Browns appear to be more interested in stockpiling draft picks than putting somebody good at QB this year, and Pryor should get to play with a good quarterback. If he succeeds this year, perhaps in 2018 he can sign a long-term deal with a franchise that isn’t a joke.