INDIANAPOLIS--The Wednesday 4 pm deadline to designate players with the franchise tag passed with the Browns choosing to not designate Terrelle Pryor as a franchise player.
The Browns have until March 9 to come to terms with Pryor before he becomes an unrestricted free agent, however teams may negotiate with him starting March 7.
Browns Executive Vice President Sashi Brown said he isn't worried about the deadline concerning Pryor and seemed confident the Browns could work out a long-term contract with him.
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Brown said by not placing the tag on him "we understand that means he's effectively a free agent." The franchise tag would've paid Pryor $15.8 million this season. Teams can begin negotiating with potential free agents on March 7, but cannot sign them until March 9.
Brown did say that Pryor is a top priority to sign.
"To be honest, I think we'd like to have Terrelle back, and that's a priority for us," Brown said at the NFL Combine. "With that said, we're not going to panic if he's not back also.
"But he's a good player, worked hard and we think he fits into our system," Brown said. "He had a lot of success with our coaches. We think this is a great place for him to continue to his career.
"He had a lot of success with our coaches and I appreciate his comments with the press saying that he'd like to stay in Cleveland," he said. "It's on us in this process to try and make sure we exhaust all options to make that happen."
Brown said that he has meetings set up with his representatives, Drew and Jason Rosenhaus at the NFL Combine this week.
"We've had good discussions with Terrelle himself through the off-season," Brown said. "He and I have spoken a number of times. He and Hue (Jackson) have spoken. We do have some meetings set up with his representatives and we'll see what happens there.
"We're still looking forward to working toward finding some middle ground with Terrelle and bringing him back as a Cleveland Brown for a long time."
With the Browns releasing Andrew Hawkins this week, Pryor is the most experienced receiver presently on the roster, despite last year being his first full season in the NFL as a wide receiver.