First a few updates:
1. An overwhelming amount of Jets/Santonio Holmes information has been released since the trade was announced late last night. Fortunately, I have sorted it out for all of you on the Turn On The Jets Facebook Page, which if you aren’t following yet…go ahead and do that right now. I don’t want to brag but who had the Santonio Holmes story up first Turn On The Jets, Rich Cimini’s The Jets Stream, or The Jets Blog? You guessed right, Turn On The Jets (I was fortunate enough to stumble across the link just as the story was breaking last night). Who says you need inside sources to break news stories, you just need to have nothing better to do on a Sunday night than sit on the Internet constantly refreshing NFL news sites/twitter accounts.
2. As we all expected, Santonio Holmes has been suspended for the first four games of the 2010 NFL season. He was the facility today and passed his physical this afternoon and also spoke briefly with reporters, here is a good recap:(http://www.newyorkjets.com/news/articles/show/3653-holmes-talks-of-mistakes-fresh-start-as-a-jet)
3. The NFL is finally expected to announce this season’s schedule at some point later this week…hopefully the Jets will be playing in Pittsburgh at some point after week 4.
In-Depth Look At Santonio Holmes Trade
This deal has so many interesting and different aspects/elements to it, let’s just hit them one at a time:
Where Did This Come From? – Obviously this move came out of left field. It was being reported last week that Pittsburgh wasn’t going to give Holmes a long term deal and had tired of his off the field behavior. There is talk going around today that Holmes was going to be cut if the Steelers couldn’t trade him, which if you look at the fact that they have brought in Arnaz Battle, Antwaan Randle El, and recently worked out Dez Bryant makes some sense. Apparently, this wasn’t pre-mediated at all and the Jets basically got a phone call on Sunday night and jumped at the offer. Most people knew the Jets desired another receiver and I am sure Mike Tannenbaum nearly fell out of his seat when he realized he could get a guy like Holmes for a 5th round pick instead of signing somebody like Laveranues Coles or taking a risk by drafting a receiver in round one or round two.
Compensation – Even with Holmes being suspended the first four games of the 2010 season, this is still a steal for the Jets. A 5th round pick? The Jets weren’t getting a player who could immediately help them for 12 games the way Holmes will in the 5th round this year. This guy is only is 26 years old by the way. Honestly, I would have been satisfied with this deal if the Jets had given up a fourth round pick or even a third round pick, if they had one to trade but at a fifth round pick, how could you honestly complain?
Draft Strategy – This move allowed the Jets to keep their top three picks in this year’s draft (Round1, Round 2, and Round4), which will all more than likely be used to select defensive players. Receiver was the only position on offense the Jets were considering targeting with a high pick and now they filled the hole, which will allow them to focus on improving the depth of their defense. Mike Tannenbaum has always made it clear he hates being forced to draft a player out of a positional need instead of just taking the best guy available, and now if the Jets sign Jason Taylor they won’t have a glaring need on their roster. Yes, the Jets need another defensive lineman, a nickel corner, and maybe another safety but they could afford to take those three positions in any order depending on who are the best players available. If Jason Taylor doesn’t end up signing, expect the Jets to add a pass rushing outside linebacker in round one or two. You can throw out any mock draft that currently has the Jets taking a receiver in one or round two, and now look for it to be increasingly likely that the Jets will trade back at some point to acquire another pick later in the draft to replace the one they just lost.
Santonio vs. Braylon – The Jets have an interesting dynamic now on offense as both Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes are in the last year of their contracts and will be playing to prove they deserve big money from the franchise. You would have to expect this type of competition will bring the best out of them. If the two of them have productive seasons, do the Jets plan on bringing back both of them? Edwards is 27, Holmes is 26, and Jerricho Cotchery is 28…that could be some receiving core to keep together around Mark Sanchez for a long time.
Braylon’s Role On Offense – Despite both being legitimate deep threats, Edwards and Holmes are different types of receivers. Edwards is a natural split end because of his size. while Holmes is versatile enough to be moved all over the formation, especially in the slot. Edwards provides value as a big target over the middle, in the red-zone and on third downs, while Holmes excels on quick receiver screens where he could run after the catch and as a big play threat lined up either on the outside or inside.
What About Jerricho? – Jerricho Cotchery is still a key part of the Jets offense moving forward into 2010. Cotchery has the hands, route-running ability, and knowledge of the offense to be a terrific slot receiver and he of course still has the ability to line up on the outside. He will remain a reliable, security blanket for Sanchez in big spots.
Starters? – Obviously with the four game suspension, Edwards and Cotchery will begin the year as the starters but when Holmes returns expect Cotchery to remain the de facto starter even though there will be a big rotation working through all three receivers and moving them around the formation.
Offensive Possibilities – They are endless. Cotchery in the slot on third and shorts to convert big first downs. Holmes in the slot running deep seem patterns and catching quick screens. Play action bombs to Edwards or Holmes…Cotchery sliding out to split end to run his normal comeback route…Holmes on reverses or other trick plays…and we haven’t even started talking about using Dustin Keller, Leon Washington, LaDainian Tomlinson, or Shonn Greene yet.
Smile, Mark Sanchez – The Jets have given their franchise quarterback the tools neccessary to succeed. He is playing behind a great offensive line with a strong group of running backs, a good pass catching tight end, and now one of the league’s best receiving cores. There is so much talent around him, how could he not make immense strides in his second year?
Stay Up, Brian Schottenheimer – I am not sure Brian Schottenheimer will be able to sleep in the next 5 months, how many different formations/plays could this guy figure out for the weapons the Jets have on offense?
Smile, Jets Fans – Look at this collection of young offensive talent we currently have assembled:
- Mark Sanchez – 2nd year quarterback, who flourished in the playoffs last season.
- Shonn Greene – 2nd year running back, who flourished in the playoffs last season.
- Leon Washington – Pro-Bowl kick returner/big-play third down back, hungry to prove he can return from injury.
- Braylon Edwards – 27 year old receiver who had 1289 yards receiving and 17 TDs in 2007…6’3, 215 pounds.
- Santonio Holmes – 26 year old receiver who had 1248 yards receiving last year and was the Super Bowl MVP in 2009.
- Jerricho Cotchery – 28 year old receiver who had 1130 yards receiving in 2007 and catches everything thrown at him.
- Dustin Keller – Athletic 3rd year tight end, who has played in three playoff games and caught a touchdown pass in every single one of them.
- Brad Smith – A 26 year old versatile running back/quarterback/receiver who has an ability to make big plays.
- LaDainian Tomlinson – Not young but a first ballot hall of famer looking to prove he still has something in the tank.
We might not be far away from having a number one offense to match a number one defense.