Remember when the New England Patriots were looking to trade for a big-bodied wide receiver last September?
One of their targets was Terrelle Pryor, a source told NESN.com off the record last year. The information since has been lifted off the record.
Pryor was buried on the Cleveland Browns’ depth chart at the time, and the Patriots struck up trade talks for the former college quarterback. The Browns declined the offer but, being the Browns, wound up cutting Pryor on Sept. 10.
The Patriots worked out Pryor five days later. Knowing the Patriots had attempted to trade for Pryor, it never made sense they didn’t sign him after the workout.
Pryor cleared up that part of the story Thursday, when he told the media the Patriots didn’t feel his hamstring was 100 percent healthy.
“I really thought I was going to be a Patriot,” Pryor told Cleveland.com. “I know Bill Belichick really liked me. I had a great workout for them, and everything went really well. I really thought he was going to sign me.”
It’s not a coincidence the Patriots struck a deal for wide receiver Keshawn Martin one day after Pryor’s workout.
Pryor later rejoined the Browns last season and caught only one pass for 42 yards, but based on his production this season, it appears to be one of the few known times Belichick messed up by not acquiring a talented player who could have helped the Patriots.
Pryor has 14 catches for 244 yards this season and four carries for 21 yards. More coincidentally, considering the Patriots’ current quarterback situation, Pryor has three completions on five targets for 35 yards.
“We blew it,” former Patriots executive Michael Lombardi said Friday on The Bill Simmons Podcast. “The league often gives you a chance to be great, and if you don’t talk advantage of it, it’s your own fault, and that was one of those times we didn’t take advantage of it in New England, clearly.”
Pryor’s Browns will face the Patriots in Week 5 next Sunday. He likely will be the Browns’ No. 1 receiver and a part-time Wildcat quarterback.
But in that alternate universe where he joined the Patriots, there’s no way he’d receive a snap under center next Sunday. Patriots starter Tom Brady will return from a four-game Deflategate suspension and play against the Browns.
Thumbnail photo via Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports Images