The Browns have already kept one of their best potential free agents, linebacker Jamie Collins, from hitting the open market in March. While they now face the possibility of losing wide receiver Terrelle Pryor to free agency, it doesn’t sound as if the 27-year-old will have the opportunity to shop himself around the NFL. The Browns are “very likely” to place the estimated $15.826MM franchise tag on Pryor, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported earlier this week (Twitter link).
With the most cap space in the league, the Browns can easily afford to tag Pryor, though a multiyear deal would be preferable for the club. The same could be true for Pryor, who expressed a desire on multiple occasions during the season to stay in Cleveland for the long haul.
“I love to play for [Hue Jackson] and I enjoy playing for him this year and I’d love to play for him longer,” Pryor said in December. “But at the end of the day, it’s got to come down to what my agents think is right for me.”
Jackson, under whom Pryor broke out as he transitioned from quarterback to wideout, revealed Wednesday that the Browns are “working hard” to retain their free agents, including Pryor (via Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com).
On Pryor’s goal to remain a Brown, Jackson stated: “It means a lot. I hope all of our players that are there want to be there. That’s the kind of environment we try to create, but as he’s done, he’s got to do what he needs to do, and we hope it all works out. We’re working our tails off, I know that, to make things happen.”
If Pryor were to actually reach free agency, he’d be arguably the top pass catcher available, depending on whether the Bears are able to prevent Alshon Jeffery from hitting the market. The 6-foot-4, 223-pound Pryor is coming off a year in which he led the Browns in catches (77), targets (140), yards (1,007) and receiving touchdowns (four). Those quality numbers came in spite of a less-than-ideal quarterback situation in Cleveland, which shuffled through five different signal-callers in a one-win season. The Browns will undoubtedly look to upgrade under center this offseason, and it seems whichever QB they tab as their answer in the coming months will be able to count Pryor among his weapons for at least the 2017 campaign.
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