“I do believe the Browns will pursue Pryor, and I think he would want to come back to Cleveland”, Cabot said. “I don’t think he ever he really wanted to leave in the first place, but before he could work something out with the Browns, they had signed Kenny Britt to the four-year, $32.5 million deal they originally offered Pryor, and the opportunity dried up.”
Pryor had a breakout season in Cleveland in 2016. He caught 77 passes for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns. Pryor’s success was surprising since it was his first season getting playing time at wide receiver after transitioning from quarterback. Cleveland also had a revolving door at quarterback, but Pryor’s production stayed consistent through all the changes.
But following the season, the Browns and Pryor were unable to agree on a contract. It was reported that Pryor was expecting to be paid at least $10 million per year. But the Browns were only willing to offer the same contract they gave to Britt.
Pryor decided to sign with the Washington Redskins on a one-year, $6 million contract. But he was unable to repeat the success he found in Cleveland. He played in only nine games in Washington, catching 20 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown. He had surgery in November after dealing with an ankle injury, which ended his season.
A reunion in Cleveland may be the best option for Pryor. He showed that he can be a reliable wide receiver in Hue Jackson’s offense, even with different quarterbacks. And Cleveland is expected to be looking for another wide receiver this offseason. Corey Coleman has not developed into the receiver they expected him to be. And there are always questions about Josh Gordon and if he can stay on the field. They may decide to add a player they are familiar with instead of signing or drafting a player that does not know the system.
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Cleveland tried to trade for Pryor during the 2017 trade deadline, according to Cabot. The Browns were having major issues at the wide receiver position at the time. Coleman was hurt, Gordon was still suspended, and Britt was struggling mightily. But even though the low usage rate, Washington was unwilling to trade Pryor.
The Browns now have a different front office since Pryor left Cleveland, but he will have a proponent from the team in Jackson. In his two years as Cleveland’s head coach, Jackson’s best production from a wide receiver has come from Pryor.
Pryor has also already hinted that he would like to return to Cleveland this season. Back in January, Pryor commented on an Instagram post from Cleveland running back Duke Johnson, in which Pryor said, “Good year @dukejohnson_ hopefully I’ll be witcha next year.”
— Jordan Zirm (@clevezirm) January 2, 2018
Should the Browns sign Pryor during free agency, Cleveland will have a solid group of weapons for a potential new quarterback. With Johnson, Gordon, Coleman, and David Njoku already in the fold, Pryor would be a good addition to a young, but talented offense. If the Browns draft a quarterback with the first pick in the draft, his transition to the NFL could be made easier with that group of skill players.