If Instagram comments matter, Pryor would like to return as a free agent.
His comment came on a photo that running back Duke Johnson put on his own Instagram page. It showed Johnson leaving the fieldhouse with snow blowing in through the door. Johnson wishes “peace” to 2017.
One of the comments is from Pryor’s verified account, congratulating Johnson on his season and adding that he hopes he will be with Johnson next season.
This is a most interesting comment, and if it came to be it would take a step toward upgrading a receivers group that needs upgrading.
Pryor had a breakout season as a receiver in 2016 with the Browns, topping 1,000 yards. As a free agent, though, he turned down the deal that the Browns gave Kenny Britt and had to take a “prove it” contract with Washington.
He was nowhere near as productive, finishing with nine games, two starts, 20 catches and 240 yards.
Safe to say Pryor believes he is a better player than those numbers show.
Also safe to say the parting from Washington will be mutual.
The next move is a key one for Pryor if he wants to continue his career. The Browns’ Ricardo Louis had more catches and yards than Pryor this season.
Where might be the best place for Pryor to restart his career? The Browns, where he is familiar with the coach, the system and the terrain. Pryor had a home in Cleveland, and the Browns tried to pay him $34 million after one season as a receiver.
He chose to test the market, which was his right. But at this point, the team he plays for may be more important than the money.
The Browns and a coach he likes in Hue Jackson make sense.
It also makes sense for the Browns. The team inquired about acquiring Pyror at the trade deadline, but for reasons that seem questionable now Washington wasn’t willing to trade him.
If he gets back to 2016 form, Pryor could be part of a big-receiver tandem with Josh Gordon. It’s an immediate upgrade, though for the coaching staff it would be a risk and a lot of personality to handle.
Gordon has to stay clean; one misstep and he’s suspended again. Pryor has to re-emphasize the team element, and would also have to accept being the second receiver. But in the ultimate best-case scenario, the No. 2 receiver in Cleveland would catch a lot of passes with Gordon mentally and emotionally healthy and approaching his 2013 form.
Best to take a deep breath on that scenario though. Those “best cases” based on potential have led to miserable season after miserable season.
Pryor is not going to command a large contract after a 20-catch season. It’s a guess, but the Browns might be able to get him for two or three years in the $10 million range.
Spotrac.com valued him as similar to Philadelphia’s Torrey Smith, Indianapolis’ Chester Rogers and the Giants’ Roger Lewis. Smith’s average per year is $5 million, and the other two are in the $500,000 range.
Pyror would be motivated if he returned, and the Browns saw what a motivated player looked like in 2016. He’d be another big target, a guy who knows the system.
And he wouldn't have any major impact on the salary cap.
The decision is John Dorsey's, and he may have another plan. Dorsey also may not want the Browns to deal with a guy who has shown diva potential. Pryor had a chance to establish himself in Washington, and while he dealt with a sprained ankle he did not get that done.
But when he was with the Browns, he worked hard and dedicated himself to making it work at his new position. His season was one for the history books.
Returning to the Browns seems like a win-win -- especially given the money invested shouldn’t be huge.