A Look Back at the Terrelle Pryor Experiment

Terrelle Pryor Sr. had a career year with the Cleveland Browns in 2016.

In his first full season as a wide receiver, the Ohio State product racked up 1,007 yards and four touchdowns on 77 receptions. As if those numbers weren’t impressive enough, he also had five different quarterbacks throwing to him.

Although the Browns finished with an abysmal record of 1-15, one could argue at the time that the Pryor experiment had worked because of his clear potential as a wideout. Following the 2016 season, Cleveland offered him a four-year $32.5 million deal, but he declined to sign a one-year “prove it” deal with the Washington Redskins.

Pryor’s bet on himself did not work out in his favor. In two years since leaving the shores of Lake Erie, Pryor has not played in more than nine games and has not had more than 20 catches or 240 yards in any season. He has bounced around to three different teams in two years, including the Redskins in 2017 and both the Jets and the Bills in 2018. As of now, The 29-year old Pryor doesn’t find himself on an NFL team as the 2019 off-season begins.

Prior to Super Bowl LIII, Pryor made an appearance on the ThomaHawk show, a podcast hosted by former Browns Joe Thomas and Andrew Hawkins, and said that he was given bad advice and that he wished he would have stayed in Cleveland because he loved it there.

Would his career be any different right now if he would’ve signed the four-year extension in Cleveland?

Nobody can tell for sure, but an important factor to keep in mind is a nagging lower-body injury that has limited his playing time and production for the last two seasons. A healthy Pryor eclipsed the 1,000-yard plateau in his first year as an NFL wide receiver, but there is no guarantee that he would have stayed healthy in Cleveland.

We do know one certainty for Pryor, and that is he would be much richer had he signed the Browns offer. In seven seasons as a professional football player, Pryor has earned roughly $14.1 million dollars. His contract with the Browns was $32.5 million dollars guaranteed, which is more than double his total career earnings to this point.

Pryor’s position switch mid-way through his professional career is practically unheard of, especially when you consider the elite level he was playing at in 2016.

If Pryor didn’t leave for Washington, he would be entering the third year of his four year deal. However, now all he can do is hope a team is willing to take a flyer on him based on the strength of his 2016 campaign.

Hindsight is always 20/20 when looking back at career decisions, but with how things have shaken out for him, it appears as if Pryor did make the wrong choice two years ago.


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