Todd Bowles sure could use somebody to jumpstart his pedestrian offense. For all the bouquets thrown at Josh McCown last season, the Jets weren’t exactly The Greatest Show on Turf.
Only six teams had fewer touchdown passes than Gang Green’s 19, who finished 24th in passing offense in 2017. Granted, the final few weeks after McCown’s season-ending injury didn’t help matters, but it was clear that Bowles needed to add offensive firepower this offseason.
Although Mike Maccagnan & Co. didn’t break the bank for any skill-position talent in free agency, a motivated Terrelle Pryor could provide a welcome boost.
“Hopefully, he’s healthy and comes in and repeats what he did two years ago,” Bowles said recently. “Two years ago he was a beast. He’s a big receiver. He’s very talented, clean bill of health with his injury. You want to see him run around and create competition. We think he can help us if he’s healthy.”
Pryor made significant strides in his first full season transitioning from quarterback to wide receiver in Cleveland. The 6-4, 228-pounder bet on himself by signing a one-year, prove-it deal with Washington after a 77-catch, 1,007-yard campaign (with seven touchdowns) with the Browns in 2016.
It didn’t quite work out due, in part, to a nagging ankle injury that required season-ending surgery in November. Washington systematically cut Pryor’s playing time before he was effectively phased out. He finished with 20 receptions for 220 yards and one touchdown in nine forgettable games.
Could Pryor, who signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal (with $2 million guaranteed) with the Jets, be an important piece to new offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates’ puzzle?
The Jets, frankly, are throwing plenty of pass catchers into their wide receiver room with the hope that a handful can emerge as reliable options. In total, there are more than 15 receivers on the roster at the moment. Maybe each guy should look to his right and left in that room. Because at least one of those two people won’t be on the Week 1 roster.
“A lot of guys at the spot,” Bowles said. “But that’s good competition. We want competition.”
Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse and Quincy Enunwa headline the group. The brain trust is keeping its fingers crossed that ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen can take significant steps in their second seasons.
Anderson’s legal issues (he is still subject to league discipline stemming from a pair of arrests in the past year), Enunwa’s health (he missed the entire 2017 campaign after undergoing neck surgery) and Kearse’s contract (he has a $5 million non-guaranteed base salary in the final year of his deal) complicate matters.
It also provides Pryor with an opportunity to get his career back on track.
Should Anderson, the team’s leading receiver from last season, feel threatened given Pryor’s physical skills? At the very least, Pryor could be quality insurance if Anderson is indeed suspended by the league for his off-field transgressions.
“Robby competes all the time anyway,” Bowles said. “He practices hard. I don’t think that’s a threat to him. He always tries to get better. And I know Terrelle is a competitor.”
The Jets could definitely use a beast on offense this season.