INDIANAPOLIS (92.3 The Fan) – The Browns plan to make their pitch to keep Terrelle Pryor in Cleveland this week at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
They just didn’t use the franchise or transition tags as a vehicle to keep him.
As expected, the Browns allowed the 4 p.m. Wednesday deadline to apply the franchise or transition tags to pass without tagging Pryor. The franchise tag would’ve cost an estimated $15.8 million.
“We want to have him here long term as opposed to kind of a one year temporary option,” Brown said. “I think through my conversations he understands. We value him a lot.”
Brown has scheduled meetings with Pryor’s representatives – Jason and Drew Rosenhaus – in the next few days to try an hammer out a long-term contract here in Indianapolis.
“We’ve had good discussions with Terrelle himself through the offseason,” Brown said. “He and I have spoken a number of times, he and Hue have spoken. We’re still looking forward to working towards finding some middle ground with Terrelle to bring him back and have him as a Cleveland Brown for a long time.”
By not tagging Pryor, the Browns are now playing with fire and are at risk of losing the closest player resembling a legitimate offensive weapon they have, but Brown doesn’t feel pressure to re-sign Pryor before March 7 when the NFL’s ‘legal tampering window’ opens.
“I think the reality at this point is if you’re not going to use the tag, the guy’s effectively in free agency and will be solicited by other teams through the week here in Indy,” Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said. “We’re realistic about that. We’ll work through the process with Terrelle and his representatives.
“He’s a priority. We won’t be panicked if things don’t work out and he’s not on our roster.”
With Pryor now an unofficial free agent – at least until March 7 when he can officially hit the open market – the Browns risk losing a 1,000 yard receiver that has barely scratched the surface of his potential.
“We don’t look at it that way,” Brown said. “We’d like to have Terrelle back and that’s a priority for us. That said, we’re not going to panic if he’s not back also, but he’s a good player who worked hard. We think he fits within our system, had a lot of success here with our coaches.
“We think this is a great place for him to continue his career. I appreciated his remarks with the press about wanting to stay in Cleveland. It’s on us in this process here to try and make sure we can exhaust all options to make that happen.”
And now Pryor’s agents are free to exhaust their options as well.