It’s crazy to wake up on a Monday-at 6 AM no less – and realize you somehow missed a trade THAT morning.
Yet even the mighty Adam Schefter was busy getting shut eye when the Pittsburgh Steelers traded wide reciever Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets for a 2010 fifth round pick. (edit: thanks to Fred Cannock for catching my typo – wrote first – should have been fifth. Arg…)
This does not include Leon Washington by the way. Washington would have to have signed his tender in order to get traded and he hasn’t.
At first my thought was ‘why so cheap’? Santonio Holmes has become a very good receiver and in theory shouldn’t he be worth more?
But Holmes is cheap because he is facing a four game suspension. He’s also cheap because he is in the last year of a deal and the Steelers probably didn’t want to have to negotiate a contract with a guy one strike away from a year suspension.
For the Steelers it’s a chance to get something now while getting rid of a headache. For the Jets, it’s a cheap rental they can sign longer if Holmes acquits himself well on an off the field.
Here’s where the trade leave the teams…
JETS: Braylon Edwards is on notice. I mean, Sir Drops-A-Lot was before, but with Holmes there his situation is even shakier than his hands. Edwards has (potentially) four games to prove to Ryan, Schottenheimer and Sanchez that he can be depended upon to catch what is thrown at him reliably.
Otherwise, if Holmes plays as Holmes can play, Edwards might potentially watch as the long-term deal he covets goes to Holmes.
When he gets on the field post-expected-suspension, Holmes helps this team tremendously. His speed, hands and overall game are elements the Jets have lacked in their pass game for a long time. Holmes will give Sanchez a vertical weapon—sorry a reliable vertical weapon—which will allow him to stretch the field.
Sanchez’s development should be helped by this—he’ll have the weapons to succeed and now he will have to take the next step himself.
Despite what one might think, this will help Jerricho Cotchery more than hurt him.
We already know he’s the reliable one in this offense. As much as I love Cotchery, he’s not a true #1. Having a real threat across from him will give him a little more room to move.
At worst though, it shouldn’t hurt his targets too much, unless Edwards lights it up while Holmes is out.
For a fifth round pick—which is about the point in the Draft where players taken can easily be gone by September—it’s a pretty safe move for the Jets.
Yes, Holmes will be suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season. But that leaves the Jets plenty of time to decide what they can get from him long term.
And if you know he’ll out-perform the production of a fifth round rookie.
Even if this goes south, the Jets gave up little to get Holmes and the upside is huge. Now they can also focus on something else for the Draft as well.
This buys them at least a year and potentially more.
Holmes is gone for the first four games and is another bad decision away from potentially missing a whole season.
He’s also in the final year of a contract, and I could see why would the Steelers would want to avoid having to negotiate with a guy who can’t keep his nose clean off the field.
It’s going to be hard to give him what he wants when you know he could be taken from you at any time due to continued bad decisions.
You get something while you can for him—and his trade value isn’t going up as we approach the season.
This definitely moves the wide receiver position to near the top of the list for the Steelers at next week’s Draft.
Mike Wallace was a find last season and he will probably step up into Holmes’ slot. Hines Ward has at least another year in him.
But after that, who is there? Perennially underachieving Antwaan Randel-El? Journeyman Arnez Battle? Limas Sweed?
This is a team which depended on the pass more than we expected them to in 2009, especially with a mediocre offensive line and a streaky at best running game.
They’ll need to find some help and soon. It’s not a crisis by any means, but losing Holmes means they have one more hole to fill for the future.
Short term, we may see more of a focus on the run for the Steelers. It will be interesting to see what adjustments they make here.
I am surprised to see Holmes go so cheap, but I can’t blame the team for moving him given the tumultuous off-season so far.
In the end, it’s a step back for the Steelers. When losing a player like Holmes, how could it be anything else? But they have one less distraction heading into camp and can try to circle the wagons and focus on football.
In the end I think this could be a win-win for both teams. The Jets get a stud wide receiver (with baggage) for a one year rental while paying a low price. The Steelers get something for a player they would not have been able to easily move come summer and whom they didn’t want to have to negotiate with after he played a shortened season.