By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
Fantasy football is over. Or is it? Because I see it as the beginning. The beginning of the start of your season. Now is where you get the edge on your league mates. If you know all the ins and outs of who goes where – from players to coordinators and position coaches – you’re priming yourself for a trip to your fantasy playoffs in the upcoming season.
First comes free agency, then comes the draft. Sounds like the start of a fantasy addict’s nursery rhyme, but I digress. There will be plenty of content coming your way from Club Fantasy on this year’s draft class, but first, we start with NFL free agency.
This series will cover offensive players, as they have the most impact in fantasy circles and we at Club Fantasy don’t play individual defensive players, or IDPs as the kids call it these days.
Next up on the free agent preview list: Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor.
Pryor has reinvented himself over the last few seasons. He was a quarterback in college, tried to remain one in the pros, but was convinced the only way he could stay in the NFL was if he made the switch to wide receiver. Over the last three years, Pryor committed himself to learning the position and if 2016 is any indication, he could be a solid wide receiver in the NFL for the next 5-7 years.
Pryor wasn’t expected to contribute much to the Browns last year. Their QB position was in flux, their number one WR was suspended, and they drafted a WR in the first round who they expected would be a solid contributor for them.
The QB position did the Browns zero favors en route to a 1-15 season. But a few other things happened along the way. Josh Gordon, the oft suspended de facto number one receiver for the Browns, remained suspended and was eventually released by the team, and Corey Coleman, the rookie first rounder, hurt his wrist and missed significant time. Enter Terrelle Pryor.
In his first season with significant reps at the position, Pryor finished with 1,007 receiving yards on 77 catches with 4 touchdowns. He also had a rushing TD and attempted nine passes.
So did the Browns stumble upon their new number one wide receiver? That’s the million dollar question. Or rather, the multi-million dollar question.
With only one year of significant reps at wide receiver, the Browns don’t know what to make of Pryor. Is he a future number one? Is he an out-of-place number two? How much should they pay him and for how long?
The right answer likely lies with the franchise tag. It will pay Pryor like a number one WR, but only for one year. This will give the Browns a year to figure out if he’s a true number one and thus require an appropriate contract. But both the Browns and Pryor have expressed interest in a long-term deal, and maybe a long-term deal will be struck between them.
Let’s say they come to a standstill and Pryor hits free agency. With so many teams with lots of money to spend, where could Pryor land, and for how much money?
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have a lot of salary cap space, $78 million to be exact. They have a new head coach and will likely have a new quarterback. New head coach Kyle Shanahan loves big, fast receivers, which is exactly what Pryor is. I think Shanahan sees some of Julio Jones in Pryor. With the right QB, Pryor would be well served in this offense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
They have cap space, roughly $68 million, and a need for a number 2. They could overpay Pryor and slot him across Mike Evans for a devastating combo at WR. I almost like this pairing more than Evans and DeSean Jackson. But Pryor would cost more money.
I’m throwing a dark horse candidate in here, so hear me out. Aside from needing a lot of pieces on defense, what else do the Titans need most? A legit number one wide receiver. Is Terrelle Pryor that? I think the jury is still out, but with the way the Titans run their offense, they need a home run hitter more than an all-world WR. Pryor is certainly a home run hitter, with potential to be all-world. His fantasy numbers would look quite similar to last year’s for many years in the Titans offense.
He’s staying in Cleveland, but this was fun though. And picturing Pryor in a Bucs or Titans jersey made it all that much more fun.