After leading the Raiders to a win over the Chargers last season, Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor was starting to look like a real NFL quarterback.
He completed his first 10 passes that night in the 27-17 victory, and finished 18-of-23 for 221 yards and a 135.7 quarterback rating. Two games into the 2013 season, and the Raiders already were 2-2 and looking like a dangerous team with Pryor, who had also run for 221 yards in his four starts.
“People have underestimated him,” one NFL scout told NFL columnist Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report in the days following that game. “His skills are coming together and he is showing command. He’s playing with more confidence and throwing accurately.”
Suddenly, it appeared as if Al Davis’ final big roster addition – he took Pryor in the 2011 supplemental draft – was going to pay off.
But then, Pryor’s season fizzled, and so did the Raiders’ hopes. Oakland finished 4-12 for a second straight year.
Now, with the NFL Combine getting started and free agency and the draft ahead, the Raiders want to make a big leap forward in stocking their roster with talent – and Pryor may be on his way out.
According to Steve Corkran of the Bay Area News Group, the Raiders “will listen to offers” for Pryor this offseason. Immediately, Corkran’s report triggered speculation. Might he go to the Eagles, where he could fit into Chip Kelly’s spread-option attack? Could he be traded to the Redskins for Kirk Cousins? Are the Bills interested?
Corkran’s report on Twitter, prompted quick responses from Raiders fans skeptical that Pryor would net anything of value in return. Wrote one, about what Oakland might receive: “A loaf of bread and two bigwheels.”
The Raides, of course, are looking for a franchise quarterback, and from what they’ve seen, Pryor is a gifted athlete with a strong work ethic who’s made huge strides – yet may not ever be able to take the next steps.
In just over half a season as a starter, he completed 57.4 percent of his throws for 1,798 yards, seven TDs, 11 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 69.1. He lost his starting job to undrafted rookie Matt McGloin, who in seven games completed 55.9 percent of his passes for 1,547 yards, eight TDs, eight interceptions and a rating of 76.1.
At this point, the Raiders seem higher on McGloin as the one to stick around and compete with whatever veteran free agent or drafted rookie they bring in for the 2014 season. It seems unlikely that both McGloin and Pryor would be kept.
So, it makes sense to trade Pryor – who would spark more interest from other teams, simply because his upside is so tantalizing.
Recently, when asked about the rumors of a Pryor-for-Cousins trade, ESPN.com’s Paul Gutierrez agreed it makes sense.
“The feeling is that the Raiders would rather go in the direction of a pure pocket passer and Cousins has shown flashes under the center,” Gutierrez wrote. “The question, then, is this: Is that all it would take for Washington, under new coach Jay Gruden, who has said that Robert Griffin III is his starting quarterback?
“I’d assume Washington would want more than just TP2 from the Raiders to back up RGIII. But it sounds like a good starting point for trade talks.”