New York Jets: Giving Up On Calvin Pryor Too Early May Prove Costly
December 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets strong safety Calvin Pryor (25) before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. The Jets defeated the 49ers 23-17 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets have announced that they declined to exercise the fifth-year option for safety Calvin Pryor’s contract.

After the New York Jets used their first two picks in the 2017 NFL Draft on safeties, it’s not that surprising that they declined Calvin Pryor an additional year. According to reports, Pryor was on the block leading up to the draft.

But alas, no dice as they say. Pryor remains on the roster, for now. While the future is bright for the new Batman and Robin combination in the Jets secondary, they should be weary. Don’t throw the Pryor is a bust headline out too soon is what I’m saying.

His career thus far has been a roller coaster and perhaps the Jets are having a serious case of regret with what they passed up — the other safety they passed on in the 2014 NFL Draft, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

There’s nothing funny about his career-high five interceptions from last season. He’s the ball hawk the Jets have never had. Oh yeah, his fifth-year option was picked up by the Green Bay Packers. In case you were wondering …

Calvin Pryor, Scouting Report …

Let’s go back to the scouting report of one Calvin Pryor, via NFL Draft Profile (NFL.com):

“That is a really interesting pick. If you remember Bob Sanders in his prime in Indianapolis, this guy is a bigger Bob Sanders. He is maybe the most fearless defensive back I saw on tape this year. He flies around the field and makes plays. I think he’s a little better on the back end than he gets credit for.” — Mike Mayock

Pryor came in as “The Louisville Slugger,” a punishing menacing force over the middle. Underrated ball skills as Mike Mayock points out. His career started out awry as Rex Ryan suffered multiple injuries on the backend which forced Pryor to play out of position.

Ryan gets canned and Pryor goes back to his original position and he has the best year of his career. Coincidence? I think not.

Last year the entire team was awful. Did Pryor make mistakes? You bet your ass he did, but it wasn’t all on him. Did you see the corner play? Yikes.

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I’m not saying the Jets should’ve exercised the fifth-year option, but I am saying that he shouldn’t be traded for peanuts. He’s not a locker room cancer like many make Sheldon Richardson.

From all accounts, he’s never gotten into trouble off the field and he’s been a leader behind the scenes. I know the Jets are excited about the new toys they got for Christmas, but they should appreciate the older ones they have.

While that 10-6 year may seem like eons ago, we’re only one year removed from it. I think Pryor can still be effective as an in the box safety who can punish receivers and tight ends alike over the middle.

Worst case make him a linebacker? In this millennial age, this new era of football, the line for safeties and linebackers has been blurred. Pryor if he has coverage issues can be a blitzing weapon, or he can be a zone contributor. Obviously, that’s not what the Jets envisioned when they used a top-20 pick on him, but maximize what his strengths are.

I was admittedly one of the only people who said WTF when I heard that former Jets’ first-round pick Quinton Coples was released. I thought he had plenty of talent but he just wasn’t put in the right position. He’s out of the league right now.

While I swung and missed there, I strongly believe and again put my head on the chopping block that Pryor is an NFL’er. He has the talent and the intangibles to be an effective weapon on someone’s defense. We’ll see how much longer he’s on the Jets, but the moral of this story is don’t be too quick to get rid of talent.

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