FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Even after the Jets drafted safeties in the first and second rounds last month, head coach Todd Bowles insisted there was still a place for Calvin Pryor. He talked about his plans to use three safeties in some defensive packages. And he seemed to believe Pryor could handle the increased competition, too.
"If you're afraid of competition," Bowles said earlier this month, "you don't need to be here."
On Tuesday, the first day of organized team activities (OTAs) for the Jets, the 24-year-old Pryor wasn't here.
That's not to say that he's afraid of the competition he'll surely get from Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, the Jets' first- and second-round picks. But with no reason given for why he was one of the very few Jets to skip the voluntary practice, it's hard to believe his absence isn't somewhat related. After all, the drafting of Adams and Maye was a clear signal that Pryor isn't in the Jets' future plans.
And if he didn't get the hint then, he surely did a few days later when the Jets declined to pick up the fifth-year option in his contract for 2018.
Pryor, who was among the many Jets defenders who struggled last season, hasn't been heard from since all that took place. He did Tweet a "welcome" to Adams soon after he was drafted, but didn't Tweet anything after the Jets took Maye the next day. He was the subject of trade rumors during the NFL draft too, but hasn't addressed those either.
When pressed about Pryor's absence on Tuesday, Bowles did say that the safety had been present for some of the Jets' offseason program over the last month. As for his absence on Tuesday, Bowles would only say "It's voluntary."
That's true. The only mandatory event for Jets players this offseason will be their three-day, full-team mini-camp which will be held June 13-15.
Pryor, who had a half-sack and no interceptions last season, is scheduled to make $1,587,717 in salary in 2017. He will be an unrestricted free agent next March.