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Browns acquire S Calvin Pryor from the Jets for ILB Demario Davis

Cleveland’s overhaul on defense continues as they acquire a starting-caliber safety, and send away a player that signifies more of a shift to a nickel defense.

NFL: New York Jets at Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell (34) and New York Jets strong safety Calvin Pryor (25) during the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28.
Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns’ wheeling and dealing continued on Thursday. As Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reported that the Browns have acquired safety Calvin Pryor from the New York Jets in exchange for ILB Demario Davis.

This continues the massive overhaul that the club has done defensively during and after the draft. During the draft, the big moves included added three defensive linemen: Myles Garrett, Larry Ogunjobi, and Caleb Brantley. After the draft, the team signed veteran cornerback Jason McCourty, formerly of the Tennessee Titans. This offseason, they’ve reached massive contract extensions with both of their starting outside linebacker, Chris Kirksey and Jamie Collins. And now, we have the addition of Pryor.

Pryor was a first-round pick (No. 18 overall) by the Jets in 2014. He didn’t quite live up to expectations in New York, so now Cleveland will try to get out of him what they got out of CB Jamar Taylor a year ago. Also, with the Jets having drafted Jamal Adams No. 6 overall and Marcus Maye No. 39 overall — both safeties — it was clear that New York was looking to move Pryor.

Davis will return to the Jets after having been there from 2012-2015. He was one of the Browns’ few free agent signings in 2016, but it was only a two-year deal, so both Pryor and Davis were entering the final years of their contract. Cleveland is definitely showing personnel signs of being an every-down nickel defensive team, which would take Davis out of having much of a role. So this trade figures to fit both teams’ needs well:

From Sashi Brown

“Calvin is a young-experienced safety that has upside. We are pleased to be able to add him to our defensive back room and just like every player we acquire, we expect him to come in with a hard-working mindset ready to compete. Demario is a guy that we developed the utmost respect for in his time with our team, not only as a professional but also as a person. We appreciate all he did for our organization in his time in Cleveland.”

Financial & Age Impact

I don't think the financials mattered too much in this deal, but Davis had a cap hit of $4.8 million. $3.7 million was his base (which goes to the Jets), and $1 million was in signing bonus money (which stays with Cleveland). I assume his $100,000 workout bonus was already triggered too, which is dead money for Cleveland.

Pryor, meanwhile, has a guaranteed base salary of $1.588 million, which carries over to the Browns. The Jets take care of his $1.137 million signing bonus.

Amount Saved by Removing Davis: $3.7 million
Amount Increased by Adding Pryor: $1.588 million
Net Change in Cap Space: Browns save $2.112 million

This move also makes the Browns younger, as Pryor will be 25 at the start of the season, while Davis will be 28. Cleveland only has Pryor under contract for 2017, but this gives them the opportunity to evaluate and reward him (like they did with Taylor) if things turn out well.