The New York Jets were willing to do something today that the Ravens were no longer willing to do: Employ a 35-year old player who is currently struggling with an injury and whose production and impact on the game has dropped off significantly in the first three games of the 2010 season.
Trevor Pryce signed with the Jets today, roughly 24 hours after the Ravens terminated his contract to make room for Ken Hamlin.
That the Jets signed Pryce isn’t a shock. If the Ravens fired their Director of Cheerleading, Rex Ryan would recommend the Jets hire her. With a pay increase.
If the Ravens decided to put new water fountains in at M&T Bank Stadium, Rex would have the folks in NY drive down and collect all the old, discarded fountains and put them up at The New Meadowlands Stadium.
Rex wants to be Ravens North so badly he’s petitioned the Jets to change their colors to purple and black.
But the Pryce signing makes sense for New York, even with the 4-time Pro Bowl defensive end clearly in the December of his career. Forget the fact he has zero tackles in three games to date; Rex assumes that he’ll get something out of Pryce that John Harbaugh and his staff couldn’t.
And maybe he’s right.
The Ravens are betting he’s wrong.
That’s why they cut Pryce yesterday.
The club said all the right things on Wednesday when they parted company with Pryce and Harbaugh was probably telling the truth when he told reporters the team’s plan was to “bring him back” next week or shortly thereafter.
They told Pryce that when they cut him. “Don’t go too far…and stay in shape…because we’ll be calling,” the Ravens told him.
Pryce either didn’t believe that or decided the embarrassment of getting axed 3 games into the season was enough to warrant a change in scenery, so he hooked up with the Jets today.
The Ravens won’t say this, publicly, because it’s NEVER their policy or intention to belittle former players, especially good soldiers like Pryce, but here’s the brutal truth about Pryce: His low-fuel light was on.
He reported to training camp out of shape, had – by multiple sources at Owings Mills – a “sluggish” training camp, and was no factor at all in the team’s first three games. No longer a starter, he was part of the team’s passing downs-only sub package and wasn’t really a threat to get to the quarterback or create havoc in the backfield.
And Pryce isn’t healthy at this point, either, which probably would have made him questionable at best for this Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh. When the Ravens looked at their roster and sized up their chances for success at Heinz Field this Sunday, they assumed two things: 1) Trevor Pryce was definitely a question mark – health wise – to play in the game. 2) Even if healthy, he figured to see little playing time against the Steelers since Pittsburgh figures to go mostly with a run-based attack given that Charlie Batch will be at the helm.
Some are opining that the Jets “stole” Trevor Pryce from the Ravens.
The Ravens cut him on Wednesday.
They don’t cut players they REALLY want. They didn’t cut Ray Lewis yesterday. Or Todd Heap. Or even Brandon McKinney or Cary Williams or one of the team’s second or third tier guys like Prescott Burgess or Marcus Smith.
There were literally a dozen guys the Ravens could have jettisoned on Wednesday but they chose to cut Trevor Pryce.
They’re not all that broken up over there today at Owings Mills, no matter what they say publicly. That’s what I’m hearing, anyway.