Since drafting franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford in 2009, the Detroit Lions have been making a conscious effort in surrounding him with help at their skill positions. The offense featured some underwhelming performances this past season from starters like Marvin Jones Jr., Golden Tate and Eric Ebron. Not to mention Anquan Boldin is turning 37 this year and considering retirement.
Once again, this offense could find themselves in search for another weapon this off-season, and one of the most intriguing names on the market will be Terrelle Pryor.
In his first full season at wide receiver, Pryor exposed bright potential trapped on one of the worst teams in NFL history. The Cleveland Browns finished 2016-17 flirting with a win-less record but ended 1-15 along with playing five different sub-par quarterbacks throughout the year. Pryor was targeted 140 times and managed to finish with 77 catches and just north of 1,000 receiving yards with four touchdowns.
After a breakout season commanding national attention, Pryor is a free agent looking to get paid. Reports say the Browns are unlikely to use the franchise tag which would reward $15 million to Pryor. This will be Pryor’s best chance in testing free agency and there are plenty of teams that could use his services.
Why not the Detroit Lions?
The 28-year-old former Ohio State quarterback broke out last season in ways very few anticipated. Making that transition is never easy in the NFL, but Pryor’s athleticism sometimes made it look easy for him. He emerged as a dangerous downfield threat with some impressive performances in games like Week 3 against the Dolphins.
The Lions didn’t strike much fear in the red zone offensively this past season. Courtesy of undersized receivers, a lacking run game and an unreliable tight end, they finished with a 54-percent red zone scoring rate. A 6-foot-4 target on the outside could be a helpful solution to that problem.
Losing superstar receiver Calvin Johnson forced the Lions’ offense to not rely on a deep pass to move the ball. However, the offense was stifled at times with it’s inability to stretch the field ranking them 24th in big plays.
Pryor’s skill-set will command a competitive market this off-season. However, the Lions might not have the financial flexibility for a bidding war. So while Pryor has promise and addresses a need, the most important factor is how much he will cost.
Pryor is still raw and developing into a complete receiver. Also at his age, he may not have much time in his prime left. Receivers normally begin to decline in their late twenties. Both of those factors could drive Pryor’s price tag down a few notches.
Detroit has plenty of other roster holes they must consider as well, including their offensive line and reaching a contract agreement with Stafford.
The Lions have been historically known to fall in love with the big-body receiver, and another perimeter target is certainly a need this off-season. Overpaying for Pryor could be dangerous, but if he comes at a reasonable price, why not?