Potential Landing Spots For Terrelle Pryor: Patriots, 49ers Among Teams That Make Sense

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Terrelle Pryor

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Last week at this time the news broke that Terrelle Pryor was not only the subject of potential trade rumors and a candidate for release, but that the former Oakland Raiders starting quarterback had requested a ticket out of town back in January.

According to FOX Sports’ Alex Marvez, the Raiders have already fielded some calls about the disgruntled Pryor, who lost the starting job to Matt McGloin midway through the 2013 season. If no deal can be reached, Pryor is expected to be released in April.

So which teams have picked up the phone to inquire about Pryor? That remains unknown. But given the track record of certain franchises, we can already suspect some of the potential landing spots, as well where Pryor could fit in well.

For one, let’s count on the New England Patriots. Every free agent and player on the trading block is somehow seemingly connected to the Patriots, especially those with off-the-field concerns, as there is always a feeling Bill Belichick will find a way to temper the issue. Adding Pryor’s minimal salary would barely budge the team’s cap space, estimated at about $16 million.

With New England, Pryor has no chance of starting. There’s a guy named Tom Brady there and, well, he’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Landing in Foxborough would put Pryor in a similar situation as Tim Tebow last summer, when it seemed as if offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels could design a package around the quarterback’s skill-set. But Tebow was one of the team’s final roster cuts, and Pryor could have a similar fate.

The San Francisco 49ers are another logical landing spot. Like the Pats, it seems as if the Niners are speculated in a lot of rumored trades.

Last season, Jim Harbaugh allowed a number of quarterbacks — both journeymen and unproved players — to come and go as Colin Kaepernick‘s backup. Among them: Seneca Wallace, Colt McCoy, B.J. Daniels and Scott Tolzien, two of which wound up with the Green Bay Packers by season’s end.

Harbaugh has to address the No. 2 quarterback situation, whether it’s via the draft or through free agency and trades. There are some veteran options available — a Josh Freeman, a David Garrard or a Brady Quinn — but those quarterbacks have been non-factors in the league for some time. Harbaugh does, however, have the ability to get the most out of his players, and perhaps Pryor could continue his development learning from Kaep and Harbaugh in the Bay Area.

Pryor, of course, would have to be comfortable maintaining his $700,000 salary, as the Niners have about $4 million remaining in cap space, but will have to sign their future draft picks.

But while both the Niners and Patriots have quarterbacks entrenched as starters, there are still teams in need of a starter. They just have to ask themselves whether Pryor is going to be better than whomever they can find in May’s draft. Regardless, it doesn’t hurt to have competition.

First-year Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan coached Robert Griffin III with the Washington Redskins the past two years, and Pryor, essentially, is a more raw version of the former No. 2 overall pick. RGIII has better throwing mechanics and more speed, but Pryor’s best bit is to find an offense that caters to his skill-set, which is comparable that of Griffin’s.

The Browns obviously have a need at quarterback, with only Brian Hoyer the experienced one on the roster. The team will definitely add a quarterback through the draft, but it couldn’t hurt to take a flier on Pryor, especially with more than $30 million in cap space.

Hue Jackson was manning the sidelines in Oakland when the team selected Pryor in the 2011 Supplemental Draft. Perhaps the Cincinnati Bengals, where Jackson is now charged with running the offense, could take a look at him.

The Bengals addressed their backup quarterback situation by adding Jason Campbell, a journeyman who since being drafted by Washington has served in the No. 2 role for the Raiders, Browns, and Chicago Bears. Campbell has appeared in 21 games over the past three seasons, totaling 3,450 yards with a 19:14 touchdown to interception ratio, but his play has continually made him a serviceable veteran backup. Plus, the team has plenty of cap space — about $27.5 million — to absorb Pryor’s contract.

Why not a reunion between Jackson and Pryor? Jackson is a creative offensive play-caller, and perhaps he could create a package for Pryor or even convince the quarterback to change positions.

Sam Spiegelman is a native New Yorker covering sports in New Orleans. He likes Game of Thrones way too much. Tweet him @samspiegs.