Ben McAdoo has been following Terrelle Pryor’s career for many years. It may now be leading him toward adding the quarterback-turned-receiver to the Giants’ roster.
Pryor is due to become a free agent this week after successfully making the switch from NFL quarterback to wideout with the Browns. Cleveland.com reported on Monday that the Giants are among the teams with an interest in Pryor (the Steelers, 49ers, Titans and Eagles were also listed as possible suitors). Teams are allowed to begin talking with representatives for free agents during a two-day window that begins Tuesday at noon. Free agency officially begins Thursday at 4 p.m.
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That, of course, did not prevent McAdoo from speaking about Pryor before the Giants faced the Browns in November.
“I’m familiar with him from his high school days,” McAdoo said of the fellow southwestern Pennsylvania product. “He was a tremendous football player, basketball player, you name it. Just a tremendous athlete. You see it just transferring over. It took a little time but he’s made the transition.”
At the time, Pryor was fourth in the league with 102 passes thrown in his direction.
“I can see why,” McAdoo said.
Pryor would certainly be an interesting option for the Giants if they want to try to land a third receiving option to play alongside Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. That role was played last year by Victor Cruz, but he was released by the Giants last month. Pryor, at 6-4, would also give the Giants a high-point red-zone option, which they currently do not have and lacked in 2016.
Pryor, 27, has been on the Giants’ radar for some time. In October 2014 they had the free agent in for a workout as a quarterback. A year later, in October 2015, they saw him as a receiver. He was unsigned after both visits, but the Giants and McAdoo — who was on the staff during both of those workouts — clearly were intrigued enough to give him a look-see. And now that he has become a 1,000-yard receiver (he had 77 catches for 1,007 yards in 2016 for a Browns team on which he was probably the best quarterback on the team most weeks), the attraction could be intensified.
That won’t make it any less awkward, though. After the Giants-Browns game, Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins had some unflattering and profane things to say about Pryor on Twitter. If the two were to become teammates, they would certainly have to mend some fences.
Of course, it’s not a slam dunk that Pryor comes to the Giants anyway. There are other options for the Giants to consider. Recently released free agents Brandon Marshall and Torrey Smith are certainly possibilities. Pending free agent Alshon Jeffery might be as well. They also have a good stockpile of young players who could emerge in that role, including Tavarres King, Roger Lewis Jr. and Darius Poe, who spent 2016 on the practice squad. Plus there is the draft.
Without much in the way of salary-cap space to work with until a long-term deal is worked out with Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants will have to be judicious in how they use their resources in the opening salvos of free agency. The Cleveland.com article reported that Pryor and his representatives are looking to be paid among the top receivers in the game, or about $14 million per season. The Browns did not use the $15.826-million franchise tag option on Pryor last week.
McAdoo has had his eye on Pryor for a while now. He and the Giants will likely have to act quickly (and lucratively) this week if they want to finally make a contractual connection with him.