Jets and Browns strike rare player for player swap
By Jack Monaghan
The player for player swap between the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns makes sense for both sides. In the end, the Jets got rid of a locker room cancer in Calvin Pryor and can continue focusing on the future.
It was the old we’ll take your headache if you take our type of deal that was struck between the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns late last week. The two teams who are looked at by many to be the two worst teams in the league entering this season are hoping that a change of scenery for Calvin Pryor and a return home for Demario Davis will bring them some luck and hopefully rejuvenate their careers.
It wasn’t long ago that the Jets viewed both these players as part of their core moving forward. However, ineffective play from Davis in 2014 and 2015 lead to his departure and two rotten seasons sandwiched around a solid yet injured year in 2015 from Pryor were enough to boot him out the door. Davis always proved to a liability in coverage but was a tackling machine at times for the Jets defense during his first few years in the league.
After a promising rookie campaign in which Davis totaled 26 combined tackles as a backup in his rookie season back in 2012, Davis appeared to break out of his shell in 2013 where he racked up 107 total tackles and emerged as a young leader on defense. Davis, however, failed to live up to the lofty expectations that were expected of him in 2014, and while he still accumulated plenty of tackles, he was not rated very kindly amongst the rest of the leagues inside linebackers.
The Jets front office was still optimistic that Davis could rebound from one down year, and use 2015 as a way to prove that he can still be the talented linebacker he showed back his first two years in the league. However, things took a turn for the worse for him in 2015 as he got beat like a drum by speedy backs coming out of the backfield, and couldn’t keep tight ends from repeatedly beating him on seem routes.
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He also looked slower coming off the edge on tackles and received an even porous grade from the scouts at Bleacher Report when ranked against the rest of the leagues inside and middle linebackers.
The low point for Davis in 2015 had to of been when he was completely fooled by a wildcat play in Week 11 match-up with the Houston Texan and allowed Cecil Shorts to toast him with a 21-yard touchdown pass to running back Alfred Blue who ran by Davis like it was nothing.
After looking like he was well on his way to earning a big pay day for his success early on, Davis entered fee agency coming off his worst season as a pro and was forced to settle for a meager two-year/$8M deal from the Browns. There was speculation that the Jets had completely soured on Davis after his disastrous 2015 season, and didn’t even offer him a contract.
The Browns are hoping that their low-risk high reward roll of the dice works better for them this time around than it did with the last chance they took on a Jets castoff. According to sources, the Browns are bringing in a player in Pryor that became a cancer in Jets locker room last season. Pryor is still a very young player at just 24 years of age, and after a rough rookie season in 2014, he seemed to figure things out his second year in the league under former safety, and new head coach Todd Bowles.
There is a reason to believe that the talent still exits for the former first-round pick out of Louisville who Rex Ryan nicknamed the Louisville Slugger, to get his career back on track. It was clear to everybody after the Jets drafted safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye with their first two picks in this year’s draft that Pryor’s chance to turn his once promising NFL career around wasn’t going to come with the team that drafted him.
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The writing on the wall became even more clear when the Jets declined to pick up the 5th year option on the former Louisville Cardinal, meaning he would become free agent eligible after this upcoming season. After a highly disappointing season where Pryor’s troubles stemmed from more than just his ineffective play on the field, the Jets couldn’t have expected to get much in return for him. At least now, they got rid of him and brought back a player in Davis that at least adds a better dynamic to their locker room.