What Is It With Jets Fans and Braylon Edwards?

What is it with Jets fans and their ongoing love affair with Braylon Edwards?

Ever since it became apparent Braylon Edwards wasn’t coming back to the New York Jets this past off-season, fans have been clamoring for his return to the team. I am consistently surprised by how frequently Edwards is mentioned by so many different fans on Twitter or Facebook, or in different articles mentioning the Jets needs on offense.

Many people who don’t follow the Jets are perplexed by a desire to have Edwards on their team. The common thought process on him is that he is an overhyped bust, who can’t catch. His brief tenure in San Francisco this past season did nothing to help change that stereotype.

However, Edwards was a very good player for the Jets in 2010. Arguably a better one than Santonio Holmes and one of the few receivers who ever demonstrated any type of chemistry with Mark Sanchez. Who else do you recall Sanchez ever connecting with on deep passes with besides Edwards? He also provided the necessary threat on the opposite side of the field to keep Holmes in single coverage most of the time. As we saw this past year, Holmes struggles when there isn’t a legitimate threat opposite him.

Is Edwards coming back to the Jets? I wouldn’t put it out of the realm of possibility. Nobody is signing him to anything but a veteran’s minimum deal so financially it wouldn’t be a problem. The question is if Edwards could swallow his pride and come back to New York after the low amount of interest they showed in bringing him back prior to this season.

The Jets need a new split end and if they could get 2010 type production from Edwards this year on a veteran’s minimum deal, they are successfully filling a need in the cheapest way possible so they could focus their financial assets on other problem areas.

As for fan’s ongoing interest…think about it. We just spent a year watching the Jets have 2, yes 2 pass plays of 40 yards or longer. Fans remember this –

Despite One Loss, New York Jets Put Together Strong Off-Season

Prior to the past week’s free agency frenzy starting, we knew the following, whether you wanted to believe it or not –

  • The Jets prioritized Santonio Holmes well ahead of Braylon Edwards
  • The Jets needed a number two cornerback
  • Brad Smith wasn’t coming back
  • Their remaining group of veteran free agents would be a toss up on who stayed and left

Nnamdi Asomugha was a long shot who stormed out of nowhere to become a reality that quickly captivated Jets fans and their free agency coverage, and why wouldn’t he as the top player on the market? The contenders for his services began to drop off making it look like Asomugha ending up on the Jets was a sure thing.

We obviously know what happened. He shocked everybody by choosing the Philadelphia Eagles. Was it a stinging loss? Yes. Was it a death blow to the Jets free agency plans this off-season? Absolutely not. Asomugha was a luxury. Your off-season isn’t a failure if you can’t land both the best offensive free agent, which the Jets did in Santonio Holmes, and the best defensive free agent. Your team isn’t not a Super Bowl contender because they don’t have the two best corners in football on their team, especially when you still have arguably the best tandem in the league.

In the end, the Jets got Antonio Cromartie back on a reasonable contract and did keep that best tandem of corners in the league together. They did the right thing by bringing back Santonio Holmes over Braylon Edwards and suffered the obvious but necessary consequences of seeing Edwards and Brad Smith leave. Fortunately, there isn’t a gaping hole opposite Holmes as the Jets found a cheaper, short term alternative in Plaxico Burress, who does come with plenty of questions but also with plenty height, experience and talent.

Drew Coleman left but Donald Strickland was signed and if he is healthy can be a more than adequate replacement, never mind the hopeful improvement of 2010 first round pick Kyle Wilson. Eric Smith and Wayne Hunter were brought back to start at safety and right tackle, respectively. Were Brodney Pool and Damien Woody better options? Maybe, but the gap isn’t substantial enough to expect a major drop off at either position. When you throw in the expected return of Shaun Ellis and James Ihedigbo, along with the potential addition of another outside linebacker it is looking like another strong off-season for the Jets led by Mike Tannenbaum.

Is the team better on paper than it was last year? Probably not, but the potential is there for it to be substantially better especially if players like Kyle Wilson, Jamaal Westerman and Joe McKnight bring something to the table this year and the Jets get contributions out of rookies like Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis, and Jeremy Kerley. Never mind the continued growth of quarterback Mark Sanchez.

With a few minor moves left to finish up, the Jets are still a Super Bowl contender and will be a handful for any team to deal with on both sides of the ball. If you don’t think they have something good going on in Florham Park, you’ll have to explain why Bart Scott and Calvin Pace restructured their contracts, LaDainian Tomlinson took a pay cut, Mark Sanchez volunteered to restructure his contract, Santonio Holmes took less money to stay here, and Plaxico Burress came here despite likely being able to get a better deal somewhere else.

Yes, I know Jason Taylor did leave for the Dolphins…but hey, we never liked him anyway.

NFL Free Agency 2011: Waiting For Nnamdi

And so the wait continues…

The decision by the Houston Texans to invest big money in free agent cornerback Jonathan Joseph last night, seemingly opened a clear path for Nnamdi Asomugha to come to the New York Jets, sooner rather than later as many expected the deal to go down last night.

Yet, we wait…

There was still good word this morning, with Adam Schefter saying on Sportscenter that it is “80 percent” that Asomugha is ending up on the Jets and Rich Cimini of ESPN New York Tweeting that “Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum will be high-fiving each other soon #Nnamdi #Jets.”

So, yes it still appears the Jets are the clear front runner but there is holdup on hammering out the financial details while teams like the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys lurk with more money. At this point, it would be a true disappointment if Asomugha doesn’t end up in New York with this much hype around him. Yet, I would hesitate to criticize the Jets because the only free agent they have lost out on so far is Brad Smith, who was good as gone anyway.

Antonio Cromartie and Braylon Edwards are still lingering on the market and the Randy Moss to the Jets talk does sound serious. Nobody else has signed Eric Smith, Brodney Pool, Drew Coleman, or Shaun Ellis yet.

Stay tuned…

NFL Free Agency 2011: Brad Smith Leaves, Jets Play Waiting Game

In a move that most of us expected, wide receiver/quarterback/running back/kick returner Brad Smith has left the New York Jets. It was however somewhat surprising that he decided to join the division rival Buffalo Bills, who seemed to come out of nowhere today to snatch him up on a 4 year, 15 million dollar contract.

According to Smith, the Jets did reach out to him but couldn’t move on signing him until the situation with Nnamdi Asomugha shakes out. The Jets do still have plenty of room under the cap but apparently their top priority right now is filling the cornerback spot opposite Darrelle Revis, whether it is Asomugha, Antonio Cromartie, or a cheaper option like Chris Carr.

It will be interesting to see the contingency plan if Asomugha decides to sign with Houston or San Francisco. Cromartie would probably be the immediate fallback option but he might still not be around or the Jets could consider him too pricey and look to go with Carr and then hope to still have a shot at getting Braylon Edwards back.

Regardless, it seems like the Jets next two major moves will be signing a cornerback and a number two wide receiver, with Asomugha, Cromartie, Carr, Edwards, and Randy Moss all in play.

In other news…

LaDainian Tomlinson did agree to take a pay cut to help in the Jets pursuit of Asomugha.

The Jets aren’t going to make an attempt to resign punter Steve Weatherford. No more shakeweights at camp.

According to Manish Mehta of The Daily News expect a long term deal with David Harris to worked out some time next week.

NFL Free Agency 2011: What Dominoes Will Fall Next For Jets?

After a chaotic morning where the New York Jets signed Santonio Holmes to a five year deal and the discussion about Nnamdi Asomugha coming to town reached a fever pitch, things have quieted down…a little bit.

– The discussions about Asomugha have continued on, with ESPN’s John Clayton commenting it will take a few days for him to work a deal out with any team. However, keep in mind Clayton had said earlier in the off-season the Jets would be in salary cap hell and would have no chance to sign any free agents, so take his words with a grain of salt.

– A testament to Mike Tannenbaum’s creativity. Santonio Holmes contract will only count $2.45 million against the 2011 cap…wow.

– Manish Mehta of The Daily News has reported the Jets will ask LaDainian Tomlinson to rework his contract to free up more cap space (likely to pursue Asomugha).

– The Jets have resigned kicker Nick Folk to a 1 year deal. CBS Sports is also reporting that punter Steve Weatherford is unlikely to return.

– In a press conference today, Rex Ryan said Mark Sanchez will be the team captain this year and will literally wear a “C” on his jersey.

– Darrelle Revis was very diplomatic about Asomugha joining the team while still paying respect to Antonio Cromartie. Revis did call Asomugha “the best corner in football” even though I find it hard to believe Revis doesn’t he think he holds that title.

– This isn’t surprising but it sounds like Braylon Edwards days with the Jets are numbered. He is clearly frustrated by the lack of attention/effort the Jets have made thus far to keep him, which is understandable but they simply have higher priorities right now. Edwards will get a good contract somewhere and that team will get a tough receiver who improved vastly the past year.

– The speculation on Randy Moss coming to the Jets as a cheap alternative to Braylon Edwards has picked up. However, the latest word from Bob Glauber of Newsday is that his chances of joining the team remain “very small.” How the Jets handle the wide receiver position, will likely depend how the cornerback position shakes out for them.

– Kellen Clemens was signed by the Washington Redskins to a one year deal. We will miss his happy feet in the pocket and interceptions.

– Ben Hartsock signed a two year deal with the Carolina Panthers. We will miss his false starts and holding penalties.

NFL Free Agency 2011: Asomugha To Jets Momentum Picking Up

Where there is smoke, there is usually fire, especially when it comes to Mike Tannenbaum making moves. Along those lines, the chatter about Nnamdi Asomugha coming to the New York Jets has picked up gradually throughout the past few days and is now to the point where it sounds like the Jets are the favorite to land him.

Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network has reported throughout the morning the Jets discussions with him are “very serious” and Albert Breer, also of the NFL Network, has corroborated the report. The Jets beat writers and other media members have reported the team is discussing restructuring contracts with current players to make a run at Asomugha and that he is their top priority right now.

The most recent news is that the San Francisco 49ers have become the Jets main competition to signing Asmougha, which is somewhat surprising considering many thought Dallas, Houston, and Philadelphia would be heavily involved in pursuing him.

Yes, the 49ers can offer more money but the Jets can offer a better location, team, and a proven coaching staff and system. Nevermind the chance of forming the greatest starting duo of corners in NFL history.

Obviously, if the Jets do work something out with Asomugha, other areas of the team will feel the impact but honestly the impact may not be as bad as some make it out to be. Braylon Edwards is probably gone either way, considering how much money was spent on Holmes, same goes with Brad Smith. You don’t need Antonio Cromartie back if you sign Asomugha. Beyond that, the Jets should still be able to get Eric Smith and Trevor Pryce back to improve their defensive depth, and maybe sign somebody like Randy Moss to a short term, incentive-laden deal to replace Edwards.

TOJ Roundtable: Is Santonio Holmes Coming Back?

Welcome to our first ever TOJ Roundtable, where each of our writers offers a quick opinion on a pressing Jets question of the day.

By the way, how about that new banner? Well done by Randy Yaws again. Remember to follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter.

Who has the best chance of coming back to the Jets: Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, or Antonio Cromartie?

Joe Caporoso: I would still say Holmes has the best chance of returning. We have consistently heard he is the Jets number one priority and I think Tannenbaum will work out a contract competitive enough to what Washington offers, along with the Jets offering a much more appealing situation than the Redskins do.

Chris Celletti: I think it’s Holmes. He seemed to really enjoy his time in New York last season, and started creating a good rapport with Mark Sanchez. I think the Jets recognize this and would risk losing both Edwards and Brad Smith if it meant keeping Santonio in town. The only thing that scares me is a team like Tampa Bay, who is so under the cap and needs to hit the salary floor, blowing Holmes away with a ridiculous contract offer to eat up some of the money they need to spend.

Justin Fritze: I think Holmes is coming back, but two things will come into play. Does he want a Superbowl or money? The Redskins are not a top tier organization, and when you don’t have a quarterback with experience, the Jets look better and better. I think Braylon genuinely wants to remain a Jet unless he finds a better quarterback and receiving core. The jets did stick by him but never count out the idea of being the prime receiver on another team. I think Cromartie has turned off teams with his comments. He remains hard to pin down.

TJ Rosenthal: What it will come down to is whether the Jets feel as though matching offers for Holmes and Cromartie play into a gameplan that we feel seriously includes Asomugha. Putting those two issues together, we see Asomugha as a Jet, and Edwards the cheaper choice of the two starting WRs with a Randy Moss, Plaxico Burress, or even a lesser priced Roy Williams brought in as the number two. What you would lose there is vertical speed and a resume of late game winning plays with Holmes. What you gain is a complete shut down on the outside defensively.

Rob Celletti: Everything I’ve heard points to Holmes being the Jets number one priority, which makes me believe that he’ll be back.  There are pros and cons to any of the three, but in the end, Holmes was the most important player and I have to believe the Jets will be able to bring him back.

UPDATE: The Jets have officially offered a contract to Santonio Holmes, coupled with Santana Moss resigning with the Washington Redskins for 3 years at $15 million dollars.

A Quick Defense Of Braylon Edwards

Hard not to get frustrated when you read analysis like this of a player who you watched every snap of last season and saw the exact opposite —

Bill Barnwell at Grantland

“Braylon Edwards has built his argument for being a great pro receiver upon being selected in the top five by the Browns after a very good college career and a huge four-game stretch against terrible pass defenses in 2007. He’s a highlight-reel player, but he doesn’t run great routes and drops way too many passes to justify a big salary.”

Actually the case here is that Bill Barnwell has built his argument on watching Edwards in 2008 and not watching him play in 2010. Edwards dropped one pass all of last season and was the Jets most consistent player at the receiver position. He was far from just a “highlight-reel” player (which should actually be a positive anyway right?) and made tons of tough catches in big spots for the Jets and was excellent in his down the field run blocking.

I am pretty sure I remember these two plays from the playoffs last year, they certainly seem like the type of plays great pro receivers make.

Oh and then this one from the AFC Championship Game two years ago

Free Agency Floodgates Open: New York Jets Active Early

Here is running count of the undrafted free agents the New York Jets have signed thus far, look more information on these players later in the day:

  • TE Josh Baker, NW Missouri State
  • TE Collin Franklin, Iowa State University
  • G Chris Stewart, Notre Dame
  • DE Wayne Daniels, TCU
  • SS Davon Morgan, Virginia Tech
  • CB Julian Posey, Ohio
  • LB Nick Bellore, CMU
  • OL Tom Ottaiano, Monmouth
  • WR Courtney Smith, South Alabama
  • WR Mike Campbell, Temple
  • OG Zane Taylor, Utah
  • OLB Stafford Gatling, Ohio
  • WR Dan DePalma, Westchester

In other Jets free agency rumors and speculation –

As expected the team is pushing hard to get Damien Woody back on the team. I have a tough time seeing this not happening. Brandon Moore isn’t going to be ready for the start of camp because of off-season hip surgery, which is only more incentive to get a veteran like Woody back.

Braylon Edwards will be in court tomorrow to find out the penalty for violating his probation with his DWI charge.

A couple of veterans who were released that the Jets could have an interest in: Tully Banta-Cain and Kelly Gregg. Banta-Cain is a rush linebacker who is recovering from off-season abdominal surgery and could provide depth to the Jets at outside linebacker. He recorded 5 sacks the past year. Gregg is defensive tackle, who could be a nice addition to the Jets rotation up front.

One of the Jets newest additions

Calm Before The Storm: Final Thoughts On Jets Free Agency

I won’t publish a “NFL is Back” post until it becomes official (probably around noon today) with a finalized timeline for the rest of the week. Yet, from everything we are hearing, things are about to start getting nuts…maybe even today. 

A few final thoughts –

1. Wide Receiver – Santonio Holmes remains the Jets top priority but if the Washington Redskins drive the price up to a ridiculous number, Mike Tannenbaum shouldn’t hesitate to move his focus to bringing back Braylon Edwards. The Jets have too many other areas to address to waste resources and time in a bidding war with Daniel Snyder’s endless pockets. If the Jets are going to sign a free agent, I think it ends up being Randy Moss.

2. Secondary – It is worth taking a run at Nnamdi Asomugha, even if it remains a long shot. Antonio Cromartie returning is also starting to seem like a long shot, which means the Jets could have to focus on getting Brodney Pool and Drew Coleman back, along with finding a veteran free agent corner.

3. Offensive Tackle – It sounds like they plan to work something out with Damien Woody but if not Wayne Hunter remains a viable fallback option. The key is making sure at least one of the two is brought back. It would be insane to just hand the job to Vladimir Ducasse without having a veteran to compete with him.

4. Defensive End – Unfortunately, I could see Shaun Ellis being too pricey considering the Jets other concerns. However, Trevor Pryce is a good fallback plan.

5. Other Considerations – Even though I would like to see them add another linebacker, we haven’t heard anything tangible about the Jets having interest in picking up a Matt Roth, Manny Lawson, or Antwan Barnes. Hopefully, they can find some support for the position, especially if Bryan Thomas is forced to be a cap casualty.