WASHINGTON — The Redskins have signed wide receiver Terrelle Pryor to a one-year contract and taken some sting out of losing their top two wide receivers in free agency.
Pryor, 27, was a one-time quarterback at Ohio State and in Oakland who made the transition to wide receiver last season with Cleveland and had 77 catches for 1,007 yards.
His addition mitigates the loss of DeSean Jackson (Tampa Bay) and Pierre Garcon (San Francisco). Washington became the first team in NFL history to lose two receivers in the same offseason who had topped 1,000 receiving yards the previous year.
“I’m happy to be here, happy to make some plays for you guys and make some big-time plays,” Pryor said in a video posted on the Redskins’ Twitter account. “Let’s go.”
The Redskins saw Pryor’s talent in person in an Oct. 2 game at FedEx Field. Pryor’s size – he’s 6-foot-4, 233 pounds – gave cornerback Josh Norman fits in the first half of that game. Pryor caught four passes for 42 yards and a touchdown and tossed Norman around like a rag toll. He’s that physically imposing.
Pryor didn’t show much as a deep threat. He caught four passes over 40 yards with a long of 54. But he had 77 receptions despite sub-par quarterback play for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns. You would have to think that size will come in handy in the red zone, where Washington must improve.
One bonus: Pryor is 27. He turns 28 in June. That’s two years younger than Garcon and Jackson, who are both 30. The contract is only for $8 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, which is a relative bargain given the high prices receivers have fetched on the open market and Pryor’s production last year.
Pryor, of course, was drafted as a quarterback by Oakland in 2011 and started nine games at that position with the Raiders in 2013. That skillset also allows Redskins coach Jay Gruden to get creative when calling plays. Pryor completed five of nine passes in 2016 with a long of 26 yards. He also had eight carries for 21 yards and a touchdown.
Pryor stabilizes a decimated wide receiver position. But there is still talent here – depending on the health of wide receiver Josh Doctson. He missed all but two games in 2016 and barely practiced because of Achilles tendon pain that started in May.
But Doctson, sources say, is closing in on 100 percent and hasn’t had a setback in his rehab this offseason. He documents that regularly on his Snapchat account running through drills at Redskins Park.
Jamison Crowder (67 receptions, 867 receiving yards, seven touchdowns) is already one of the game’s top slot receiver and the team is comfortable moving him outside, if needed. Washington’s coaching staff still like reserve Ryan Grant for his blocking ability and his consistency – even if he isn’t a gamebreaker. And Maurice Harris, an undrafted college free agent last year, earned snaps toward the end of the season.
Adding Pryor, this offense has a chance to be very good again with tight ends Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis dangerous in their own right. It doesn’t quite make up for the loss of mainstays like Garcon and Jackson, but it adds needed talent and also provides flexibility going forward.
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