The Jets are trading former-first round pick Calvin Pryor to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for linebacker and former-Jet Demario Davis, SNY.tv's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed Thursday morning.
New York was planning on releasing Pryor before agreeing to the trade with Cleveland, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
The Jets declined Pryor's fifth-year option last month, making the safety a free agent following the 2017 season.
New York had attempted to trade Pryor during the NFL Draft, but were unable to complete a deal.
Pryor appeared in 15 games for the Jets last season, making 62 total tackles while forcing one fumble.
In three seasons with New York, the 24-year old has two interceptions to go with 0.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
The Jets selected safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye in the first and second round of this year's draft, thus making Pryor expendable.
"We appreciate Calvin's time and contributions to our organization and wish him nothing but the best in Cleveland. We welcome Demario back to the Jets and look forward to having him compete as we continue our offseason," Jets general manager Mike Maccagan said in a statement released by the team.
Davis recorded 99 combined tackles, two sacks, and one forced fumble for the Browns last season, appearing in all 16 games.
The 28-year old linebacker began his career in New York, playing his first four seasons with the Jets before signing with the Browns prior to the 2016 season.
Pryor was due $1.587 million in salary this season, while his cap hit was $2.724 million. By trading him, the Jets clear his salary off their cap books, but he still counts for $1.137 million in dead money.
Davis is due to make $3.7 million during the 2017 season, but it is not guaranteed so the Jets owe him nothing if they cut him before Opening Day. Overall, the Jets will be adding about $2.2 million to their books if Davis makes the team.
Calvin Pryor's future with the Jets ended on the second day of the NFL draft last month, as soon as the Jets drafted a safety in the second round, one day after drafting a safety in the first. It was clear then, even before the Jets declined to pick up the fifth-year option on his contract, that the former first-round pick wasn't in the Jets' plans, even at age 24.
So it shouldn't have been a surprise that the Jets continued their locker-room purge on Thursday and dumped Pryor onto the Cleveland Browns. Pryor was a huge disappointment last season, a symbol - along with another ex-Jet, Darrelle Revis - of what was a disastrous secondary. He wasn't drafted by the current front office, which is determined to rebuild and move on.
They were so determined to move on, in fact, that a team source said the Jets were considering just releasing him if they couldn't find a trading partner. And when the Browns stepped up and were willing to take what was left on Pryor's contract, the Jets were thrilled, the source said. If the Jets had cut Pryor outright, his entire salary cap amount -- $2.7 million - would have remained as "dead money" on the Jets books. By trading him, he only counts for $1.1 million. The rest transfers to the Browns.
Of course, the player the Jets got in return - former Jets linebacker Demario Davis - is due a hefty, $3.7 million this season. But none of that is guaranteed, so if the Jets cut him before Opening Day they don't owe him a thing and he won't count against their cap at all.
And the financial part of it, according to a source, was a significant benefit of the deal for the Jets. This was a salary dump of a player that didn't fit into their future, and unless Davis surprises them at camp they were able to save $1.6 million along the way.
Of course, the fact that the financial part of this was so important doesn't bode well for Davis, a former third-round pick of the Jets who signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Browns in 2016. He does have some talent - 99 tackles and two sacks last season - but he wasn't all that impressive during his three seasons as a starter with the Jets, which is why they hardly blinked when he left.
Also, it's hard to see where he fits in. He could conceivably compete at weak-side linebacker, where he played the first time around with the Jets. He played inside in Cleveland, but Darron Lee and David Harris are entrenched there for the Jets, at least for this season.
Most likely he's depth, and another young(-ish) player who can compete on a team that has built competition throughout the roster. But the Jets clearly aren't going to pay him $3.7 million for that. If they decide to keep him around, he'll almost certainly have to accept a hefty pay cut.
That's for later, though. For now, the Jets were just glad to get rid of the disgruntled Pryor and save a little money at the same time.