Demario Davis 2.0: Lower expectations, no Ray Lewis comparisons

The New York Jets made news Thursday by trading Calvin Pryor for a familiar face, Demario Davis. Our question of the week focuses on Davis and his potential role.

@RichCimini: I don't remember anybody mentioning tight-end coverage when the Jets drafted Davis in 2012. They picked him to be a weak-inside linebacker, and that's what he was from 2013 to 2015. I also remember Rex Ryan comparing Davis' leadership skills to those of Ray Lewis, an absurdly exaggerated comment.

And now? Yes, there was a cap-related element to the trade. None of Davis' $3.7 million salary is guaranteed, meaning the Jets can cut him before the season with no cap hit whatsoever. I can tell you one thing: If Davis makes the team, it won't be at $3.7 million. That's too much money for a backup. My hunch is, if the Jets really want to keep him around, they'd ask him to take a pay cut.

The Jets will let this play out over the next three months and see what happens. Ideally, Davis could be the No. 3 inside linebacker, coming off the bench to spell David Harris and Darron Lee. He could reprise the Erin Henderson role from 2015, which would be ironic because it was Davis who lost playing time when Todd Bowles started rotating Henderson into the lineup.

Davis is solid insurance in case something happens to Harris, who at 33 isn't getting any younger. He also will provide competition for Lee, who still hasn't reached his potential. Maybe Bowles will use them in a three-linebacker rotation to keep everybody fresh. If the Jets are impressed by Davis, 28, maybe they re-sign him to replace Harris in 2018.

The bottom line is this could go in a number of different directions. It's called flexibility, and that's a good thing. There's also a comfort level because this coaching staff knows the player's strengths and weaknesses. They also know he's a solid guy in the locker room.

I find it interesting the Cleveland Browns gave up on him after a year. On paper, Davis was solid (99 tackles, two sacks) but maybe his numbers didn't impress the analytics people in the front office. His playing time declined late in the year and the Browns finished 31st in run defense, so there's that. He was penciled in to start this season at middle linebacker, but he apparently wasn't seen as a good fit under new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

The Jets know exactly what they're getting, so their expectations aren't through the roof. In a way, Davis was a means to an end, and their goal was to find a team willing to take on Pryor's guaranteed salary. If they get production on the field, it's a bonus.