BEREA, Ohio--The Browns have been down this road before.
Players in the final year of their contract talking all season about wanting to stay with the Browns, only to walk away in free agency once they hit the free agent market.
The Browns are in a similar situation with Terrelle Pryor, who they signed to just a one-year contract for the 2016 season. Earlier this season, Pryor talked about wanting to stay with the coach who brought him to the NFL in Hue Jackson. He also talked about how appreciative he was of the Browns for giving him a chance to make the transition from wide receiver from quarterback a year ago and give him time to develop. In 2015, Pryor caught just one pass for 42 yards in the season finale against the Steelers.
Pryor was asked about the possibility of playing his last game with the Browns.
"Obviously it’s something that you think about,” he said. “But I can’t control that at the end of the day and it’s not my call. It’s the guys upstairs, but I’m definitely grateful for the opportunity they gave me and I’m grateful to be on this team, no matter what the record is."
In 2016, Pryor is currently tied for 28rd in the NFL in receiving yardage with 913 yards. He's tied for 29th in receptions with 70 catches. However, so far in the month of December, coinciding with the return of Robert Griffin III to the lineup at quarterback, Pryor has caught just eight passes for 58 yards and no touchdowns. He had one reception for three yards against the Bengals on Dec. 11, four catches for just 19 yards against the Bills and three receptions for 36 yards against the Chargers.
Pryor has had three 100-yard games this season. He caught eight passes for 144 yards against the Dolphins and had six receptions for 101 yards against the Jets. HIs last 100-yard game was a six reception 131-yard game against the Giants on Nov. 27.
Last week, Pryor passed Kevin Johnson, Travis Benjamin and Antonio Bryant for the fourth-most receptions in a season by a Browns wide receiver in franchise history with 70.
Pryor, 27, admitted getting 1,000 yards is one of his goals.
“One of my goals is getting over that,” Pryor said. “I think a victory overrules it and I know I could get 1,000 yards. I believe I’m the type of player and I know that, but this is really about the team.
“It could happen. It’s not far away at all.”
Jackson said he hopes Pryor reaches his goal but wants it to come in the natural flow of the game and "not at the expense of the football team".
Pryor had five receptions for 97 yards in the first game with the Steelers and could find himself pitted against former Browns top pick Justin Gilbert, who's expected to play a lot with the Steelers resting many of their starters.
Benjamin had 68 receptions for 966 yards in 2015. Antonio Bryant caught 69 passes for 1,009 yards in 2005. Josh Gordon has the franchise record of 87 receptions for 1,646 yards in 2013. Johnson caught 84 passes in 2001, while Braylon Edwards caught 80 passes for 1,287 yards in 2007.
After last season, Jacksonville's Allen Hurns signed a four-year, $40.6 million contract after having a 1,031 yard season with 10 touchdowns. Benjamin had similar numbers to Pryor last year in Cleveland with 68 receptions for 966 yards and signed a four-year contract for $24 million with the Chargers.
Pryor goes into the final game of the season this week against the Steelers leading the Browns with 70 receptions for 913 yards, including four touchdowns. Pryor needs just 87 yards to hit the 1,000 yard mark receiving and be just the seventh Browns wide receiver in history to hit the 1,000 yard mark.
Pryor had a breakout season and exceeded expectations in a season the Browns drafted four wide receivers, including first round pick Corey Coleman. They also were expecting Gordon to return at some point this season.
However, the Browns couldn't get a deal done earlier in the season and Pryor's agents Drew and Jason Rosenhaus are now speaking through Pryor as the season winds down.
“I put that out there, I love to play for (Jackson) and I would love to play for him longer,” Pryor said. “But at the end of the day, it’s got to come down to what my agents think is right for me.
“I have the utmost respect for Hue, but at the end of the day, it’s got to make sense for both sides,” he said. “Like I said, I love to play for Hue. I played my hardest. I’m getting more experience as I go. I would love to play for him longer, but at the end of the day, it’s got to come down to what my agents felt is right for me.”
Pryor said his agents have wanted to wait until the season is over to talk about a contract extension, so the Browns will have a couple months to try and get a deal done to keep him from hitting the free agent market.
Horton Thinks Shelton is on the Rise: Defensive coordinator Ray Horton said that he was disappointed that DL Danny Shelton didn't make the Pro Bowl and he thinks the second-year player has a bright future with the Browns.
“As I said a couple of weeks ago, I personally was disappointed he did not get into the Pro Bowl," Horton said. "I think he is on that trajectory to be a Pro Bowl player for us. He is a very smart player, very bright, very intelligent and very witty. He can dominate the line of scrimmage with his athleticism, with his strength, with his tenacity and with his nastiness.
"That is where I see him going," he said. "How did he do this year? He did well. He did what we wanted him to do. Did we have ups and downs? Yeah, we had ups and downs as a unit and as a team, but Danny is going to be one of the bright stars of the league because he can play that position, and he is smart and he can play it very well.”
Haden, Johnson & Johnson Questionable: The Browns will have three players questionable for Sunday's game with the Steelers in DB Joe Haden (neck), RB Duke Johnson (ankle) and LB Cam Johnson (groin). DB Trey Caldwell (hamstring) is not expected to play.