By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
Transaction: The New York Jets sign WR Terrelle Pryor to a 1-year deal
2018 Fantasy Outlook: Here’s the thing about talent. Evaluators are slaves to it. And really, fantasy experts are no different. When a guy breaks out, everyone thinks he’ll do it again. In 2016, Terrelle Pryor made the successful transition from QB to WR when he had 77 catches for 1,007 yards and 4 TDs. He ended up leaving in free agency, spending 2017 in Washington with the Redskins. Ever heard the saying, “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side”? Pryor wanted a long term deal and be paid like a legitimate number one wide receiver. Cleveland offered the long-term deal but not at the salary Pryor anticipated. He settled for a one-year “prove-it” deal. All Pryor proved was that he’s not a number one wide receiver.
2017 was forgettable for Pryor. 20 receptions for 240 yards and a single TD. It was a far cry from his 2016 breakout. Maybe he and QB Kirk Cousins didn’t see eye to eye. Maybe Pryor didn’t take to Jay Gruden’s offense. A myriad of factors were at play but the end result was the same. Pryor wasn’t any good in 2017 and it makes 2016 seem more like an anomaly than a speed bump towards a great career. Because of that, Pryor hit free agency with less than stellar offers and once again settled for a one-year deal, this time from the New York Jets.
The Jets actually had some underrated receivers last year. Pryor now joins a receiver corps featuring Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse who combined for 128 catches and 1,751 yards and 12 TDs. Anderson is facing some legal trouble, leaving Kearse as their main man. Pryor will have an opportunity to compete for targets and working in his favor is that the starting QB from his 2016 breakout just so happens to be the QB for the Jets, Josh McCown. Will Pryor return to fantasy glory?
Not so fast. Look, I won’t be someone who is going to rush to tell you Pryor is primed for a breakout. The dots may connect — Robby Anderson likely misses time, McCown throwing him passes, he’s a talented receiver, blah, blah, blah — but I’m just not buying it. First off, even if Anderson misses time, are we sure it’ll be enforced for this season? Exhibit A, Tom Brady. Exhibit B, Ezekiel Elliott. Delay after delay after delay. McCown is 39 years old. He may have done okay last year, but for someone who’s a career backup, are we sure he has an encore? The Jets are likely to select a QB with the 3rd overall pick in this year’s draft and they did sign Teddy Bridgewater as well to back up McCown. I’m not buying it.
If you told me you wanted to take a late round flier on Pryor, I wouldn’t scold you for it. Just don’t get mad when you pass on someone who has higher upside and puts up the kind of numbers you’re hoping Pryor does.