The New York Jets' offseason youth movement has claimed another victim ... and he's only 24 years old.
Calvin Pryor was traded Thursday to the Cleveland Browns, which tells us the Jets aren't making decisions based solely on birth certificates -- as was the case with old guys Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold and Brandon Marshall.
This massive rebuilding project also is an attitude movement and a production movement -- and Pryor, the Jets' 2014 first-round pick, camp up short in both areas.
Adios to the Louisville Slugger. Have fun in Cleveland.
Paying attention, Sheldon Richardson?
In reality, Pryor's fate was sealed during the draft, when the Jets used their first two picks on safeties, Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. Pryor, a safety who managed only two interceptions and two forced fumbles in 44 career games, was toast.
The Jets like what they've seen in early practices from Adams and Maye, and the plan is to make them opening day starters.
It took a month, but the Jets finally found a team willing to pick up Pryor's $1.6 million guaranteed salary for 2017. Hey, when you're looking for a salary dump, just call the Browns. The Jets still have a $1.1 million dead charge, but this was a winning move for them from a cap standpoint. If they had released Pryor -- that was the plan if they found no takers -- they would've had to eat his salary.
In return, they get a familiar face -- linebacker Demario Davis, who has a non-guaranteed $3.7 million salary in the final year of his contract. This gives the Jets plenty of flexibility. In theory, they could cut Davis before the season and incur no cap charge.
From a football standpoint, they have three starting-caliber inside linebackers with David Harris, Darron Lee and Davis, who played with the Jets from 2012-15. He overlapped one season with coach Todd Bowles in 2015, so he knows the system and it should be an easy transition.
It should be noted that Davis basically lost his starting job to Erin Henderson late in the 2015 season, so it would be a stretch to think he'll make a triumphant return as a starter. Harris and Lee remain the projected starters. Davis can be a depth player and he also has the athleticism to help in third-down packages. It makes no sense to pay $3.7 million for a backup inside linebacker, so Davis is no lock to make the team.
The Jets are taking a risk by leaning so heavily on two rookies at safety -- the most cerebral position in the secondary -- but they made up their minds on draft day to start the future right now. They believe Adams and Maye have star potential. Suddenly, depth is an issue at safety, but that can be fixed in the coming months. The overriding message here is that no one --not even someone picked in the first round -- gets a free pass.
Pryor, hailed by former coach Rex Ryan as a player with Jack Tatum-like skills, didn't make any impact plays. He'd blow up a ball carrier every so often, but he also missed too many tackles and was terrible in coverage. He failed to live up to his draft pedigree; he was 18th overall in 2014. The Jets were hoping for Odell Beckham Jr. (12th overall) but wound up with an undersized strong safety with marginal ball skills. Oops.
Pryor's attitude also soured people in the organization. They felt he had an inflated opinion of himself and didn't buy into Bowles' program. Look at it this way: They could've easily kept him as a backup -- salary-wise, it was doable -- but they wanted him out of the locker room ASAP.
They were curious to see how he'd respond to the Adams and Maye additions, and when he didn't show up for the first day of OTA practices ... well, it confirmed their impression of him. On Tuesday, he was demoted to third string.
Bowles downplayed the significance, spewing some coachspeak. But he also said, "If anybody's going to cry about somebody drafting somebody at their spot and not go out there and play, this is not the league for them."
Or the team.