CLEVELAND – Demario Davis spent one long, losing season in Cleveland. The linebacker is going back where he started.
Davis is returning to the New York Jets after being traded Thursday by the Browns for safety Calvin Pryor.
The 28-year-old Davis spent four seasons with the Jets, who drafted him in the third round in 2012. He signed a two-year, $8 million contract with Cleveland as an unrestricted free agent before the 2016 season, which ended with the Browns going 1-15.
The Jets will assume his $3.7 million contract this season.
Davis did not appear to be part of Cleveland’s long-term plans, with the team signing both Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey to contract extensions this offseason. Davis thanked Cleveland’s owners, coaches and teammates on his Instagram page.
“I have nothing but good things to say about this first class organization, that’s on its way to shocking the world,” Davis wrote. “To my brothers in the locker room; the stage is set, go make it happen. In this past year, I’ve grown as a person and a player in ways that wouldn’t have happened in any other circumstance.”
Davis made 15 starts and finished second on the Browns with 99 tackles and two sacks last season.
Pryor, who made 38 starts over three seasons in New York, will give the Browns more depth in their secondary. The Jets had declined to exercise Pryor’s fifth-year option, leaving his future with the franchise in question.
“Calvin is a young, experienced safety that has upside,” said Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown. “We are pleased to be able to add him to our defensive back room and just like every player we acquire, we expect him to come in with a hard-working mindset ready to compete. Demario is a guy that we developed the utmost respect for in his time with our team, not only as a professional but also as a person. We appreciate all he did for our organization in his time in Cleveland.”
Pryor was the No. 18 overall pick by the Jets in 2014.
He started 15 games at strong safety last season, but his days with the Jets appeared numbered when the team selected safety Jamal Adams with the No. 6 overall pick in April and then took safety Marcus Maye in the second round.
The Browns drafted safety Jabrill Peppers in the first round, but he’s been limited in offseason workouts by an unspecified injury. Cleveland is also trying cornerback Jason McCourty at free safety.