The New York Jets continue to make up for past mistakes, while the Cleveland Browns keep kicking tires to see what sticks. Both sides lived up to their new mantras on Thursday, when the Jets handed over star safety Calvin Pryor in a trade for Cleveland linebacker, Demario Davis:
Jets are trading former first-round pick Calvin Pryor to the Browns, sources say. Shot for the safety to restart his career.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) June 1, 2017
New York had long been threatening to move on from Pryor, who entered the league as a hard-hitting playmaker but disappointed when it came to high expectations and also struggled in coverage. The writing was officially on the wall when the Jets spent two draft picks on the safety position in the 2017 NFL Draft, making the 24-year old Pryor expendable. The deal brings back former Jet Demario Davis, who spent his first four years in the NFL with the Jets before signing with the Browns ahead of last season.
Good Deal For Both Sides
On the surface this trade doesn’t register as an offseason blockbuster deal, but it’s bigger than some NFL fans may initially think. Pryor was a big time prospect coming out of Louisville, as he’s always shown the ability to lay hard licks on receivers over the middle of the field and in theory can provide his defense with strong run support and an impact ball hawk secondary. Pryor really never lived up to expectations in either category, but used in the right setting with a Browns defense that added a ton of talent in free agency and the draft, there is a reasonable chance to could actually thrive.
It’s worth wondering how much anyone can get out of a guy who failed to deliver under two bright defensive minds like Rex Ryan and Todd Bowles, but Pryor is still just 24 and has the ability to further develop with the change of scenery. More importantly, it’s quite likely he will be used differently in Cleveland than he was in New York. Precisely how remains to be seen, but with the Browns drafting star safety Jabrill Peppers out of Michigan, the team could be looking for the right mix of talent at the back of their pass defense.
While Pryor could end up being a great fit for the Browns if all goes well, Davis returns to his old stomping grounds in this same trade. Davis was solid enough in his lone season with the Browns, and will come back to New York starting out as a rotational piece. Davis projects best on the inside of New York’s 3-4, but with David Harris and Darron Lee both likely operating ahead of him, it could be difficult to point out an obvious role for him initially.
That may be the case at first, but the Jets will certainly find a way to use a talented linebacker who knows their system and has shown well in the past. Davis isn’t a stud by any means, but he’s been more than passable and is a solid depth pickup considering Pryor was a player the Jets were probably eventually going to release for nothing.
At first glance, this trade does very little for either side when it comes to Super Bowl odds or playoff expectations. The Jets are likely headed in the wrong direction after struggling in 2016, while the Browns really have nowhere to go but up after handing in an awful 1-15 run a year ago. The Browns are on their way to improving, however, as they drafted huge defensive assets in Myles Garrett and Jabrill Peppers and could potentially get some help from the hard-hitting Pryor if all goes well.
Neither team deserves a Super Bowl flier bet right now and betting on the Jets or Browns to make the playoffs doesn’t feel like a great bet, either. There could be money to be made if you feel either team is in the upward swing, however, as the Browns have a projected win Over/Under at 4.5 and the Jets enter 2017 with a projected win Over/Under at 5. Both teams remain solid bets to stick the Under in these bets over at Bovada, but Cleveland is the one adding talent in spades right now. They play in a tough AFC North division and have to deal with three viable playoff contenders in the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals, but with added talent and a lower win total, they might make the better bet between these two bottom feeders.
Of course, even that bet feels like a mild reach, as these teams still aren’t good and won’t be contending for anything of merit in 2017. The Calvin Pryor trade could be a nice get for the Browns down the road, but it’s unlikely to translate into a big boost in wins in year one.