Before the 2017-2018 regular season began, the Jets made a trade with the Cleveland Browns. Jets brought back inside linebacker Demario Davis for safety Calvin Pryor III, a former first-round pick.
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) June 2, 2017
Pryor had struggled in recent years, but there were still questions to be asked. Young linebacker Darron Lee was still developing and for a rebuilding team. Adding Davis questioned whether he would get as much time on the field as he would’ve prior to the trade.
Now, the Jets have made the Browns look foolish.
Before the Deal
Demario Davis left the Jets in 2016 to join the Cleveland Browns. The deal was $8 million over two years. Davis was a solid linebacker at the time, but he was under the shadows of former Jet David Harris, so he did not have as much opportunity.
During the 2016 season, Davis racked up 99 combined tackles, 2 sacks and 2 passes defended for the Browns. Not a terrible year, but not terrific either. With Christian Kirksey on the rise, the Browns had no reason to keep him.
Pryor, on the other hand, struggled mightily. In three years with the Jets, Pryor acquired 191 tackles, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, and 14 passes defended. For a safety, 1 sack and two interceptions is a decent stat line for a single year. But those stats took Pryor three years. To put it into perspective, Marcus Maye has two interceptions in 11 games. Pryor had two in 46 games.
Browns, trying to get rid of Davis, and the Jets, trying to get rid of Pryor, seemed to make the perfect match. The two teams exchanged players before the 2017 season. Davis, 28 years old, was viewed as the veteran on the young Jets defense. He immediately took place as the Jets leader on defense, and since he has played his role extremely well.
Through 11 games this season, Davis has a statline of 92 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 3 passes defended. He is second in sacks among inside linebackers and 7th in tackles. He is on track for 134 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and 4 passes defended.
To compare: Bobby Wagner, stud inside linebacker for the Seahawks, is on track for 145 tackles, 2 sacks, and 9 passes defended. Yes, these stats are better, but not by much. Keep in mind Wagner is looked at as a top 3 inside linebacker, and Davis is often overlooked, sometimes not even viewed as a top 10 inside linebacker.
Now, we take a look at Pryor. Where is he now? The free agency market.
Pryor was released from the Browns during September due to a fight with a teammate. Shortly after, the Jaguars claimed Pryor off waivers. Good for him right? Nope. He had one tackle. Yes, you read that right. One tackle. He was released from the Jaguars on December 2nd, 2017. Talk about a quick downfall.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 2, 2017
The Browns do have solid linebackers in Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey. Schobert is second in the league in tackles. These two gave the Browns the right to trade Davis, which never seemed like a bad idea. They may have done the right thing by trading him, but for Calvin Pryor? The Jets now have one of the league’s premier inside linebackers, and the Browns have… nothing. Absolutely nothing. Assuming the Jets extend his contract, the Browns may have given the Jets their cornerstone defensive leader for years to come, for free.
– James Cunningham is a staff writer for Full Press Coverage Jets and covers the New York Jets. Like and follow on Follow @nyjfansnation//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsFollow @FPC_Jets//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js