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Terrelle Pryor to the Jets – Time to Unload Those Shares

The New York Jets have agreed to terms with wide receiver Terrelle Pryor. One of the top free agents WRs remaining, Pryor will attempt to restore his fantasy value in New York after a dismal 2017 season in Washington.

Pryor finished last season as the WR105 in PPR formats after finishing as the WR19 in 2016. In the right place at the right time that season, he led the Browns in targets (141), with tight end Gary Barnidge (81) and running back Duke Johnson (74) as his closest competitors. Pryor mildly underperformed his volume (-1.5 reFPOE), but that might be considered a win given the state of the Cleveland passing game.

Terrelle Pryor RV Screener

Following this success, he rejected a multi-year offer from the Cleveland front office and instead signed a one-year, $8 million contract with Washington. An ankle injury suffered in Week 2 may have contributed to his downfall, but the epic bust was eventually phased out of the offense altogether. His season ended in November with ankle surgery, and Pryor found himself again searching for a new team.

Despite their relatively low profiles, the Jets incumbents, Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse, didn’t embarrass themselves last season.

Anderson KearseAnderson had a breakout year, finishing as the WR18 in PPR formats. An impressive deep threat and TD-scorer, Anderson is everything an NFL team wants in a starting receiver. His off the field arrests are well documented, but the team will almost certainly stick with him. The production relative to cost is simply too good to pass up.1

Quincy Enunwa received a second-round tender after missing all of last season, and he’s probably in the plans as well. Enunwa averaged 6.6 targets, 3.6 receptions, 53.6 receiving yards, and 0.2 touchdowns per game in 2016. The Jets also have second-year WRs ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen on the roster.

Although superficially a good location for Pryor to get his career back on track, the Jets offense has a number of mouths to feed and may not have enough targets to go around to satisfy his hunger. The team’s quarterback situation could also negatively impact his outlook.

McCown BridgewaterThe Jets recently re-signed Josh McCown to be the 2018 starter and added Teddy Bridgewater as well. McCown played well last season – and demonstrated a strong rapport with Anderson and Kearse – but entering his age-39 season, New York is obviously looking to the future. The Jets also traded up to the No. 3 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft, a pick which will almost certainly be used on a QB.

Avoid Pryor in New York

While Pryor may have plenty left entering his age-29 season, he’ll soon exit the peak window.2 Exiting the window is frequently the result of declining athleticism, but also the result of older players no longer receiving the benefit of the doubt when they go through a down stretch.3 Elite WRs can maintain performance in their 30s – and their performance tends to be more consistent – but this is no consolation for a player coming off of a down season, nor for one who has struggled to perform at a starting level despite seeing a massive number of targets.

It is easy to get intoxicated by the potential upside of Pryor given his size and athleticism, but he’s is not in an ideal offensive situation to thrive and is unlikely to see the target volume needed to become a fantasy difference maker. This is a great time to sell if you can use any uptick in enthusiasm to offload him at a reasonable price.

What was most useful for you? Please leave a comment below or better yet reach out to me via Twitter @EricNMoody.

  1. Anderson is trying to land a career-defining payday and poor decision making has given the Jets all the negotiating leverage.  (back)
  2. Per Mike Braude, the prime of a WR’s career is from 25 to 29. 59.4 percent of peak seasons occur in this window with a steady decline beginning at age 30.  (back)
  3. Volume is everything.  (back)

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