Jets Steal Holmes From the Steelers
Santonio Holmes has been a 1st round pick, a 1,000 yard receiver and a Super Bowl MVP for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but because of his exploits off the field he will now be playing for the New York Jets. The Steelers shipped him off for a measly 5th round pick in the upcoming draft. Now I realize he’s been a head case off the field, and the rumor is Holmes could be suspended for the first 4 games next season, but the Jets got an absolute steal in Holmes. The Jets receivers were their biggest question mark coming into this off season, and were almost assuredly going to use either their first or second round pick on a receiver to fill that need. Now in one major move the Jets filled their biggest need, and the Steelers created a whole new one.
When this off season began, a starting caliber wide receiver wasn’t even a thought. They had Holmes and Hines Ward, with impressive rookie Mike Wallace waiting in the wings, giving them one of the best top three receiver groups in the league. The Steelers did need depth, since former second round pick Limas Sweed has yet to show he could be a quality receiver, so they went out an signed Antwaan Randle El and Arnaz Battle. Now the need for a receiver has come back in a big way and is near the top of the charts for the Steelers. Randle El and Battle could have covered for Holmes if he was going to be suspended, but you can’t rely on them for a full 16 games. The Steelers will need to find another quality receiver in the draft, meaning they will likely have to spend one of their top 3 picks on the position. Considering the needs the Steelers have along the offensive line and at corner back, not to mention the serious depth issues at safety and outside linebacker, Pittsburgh will have to ignore one of their primary concerns to add another receiver.
Now I realize that Holmes has had his fair share of issues these past few years, but we aren’t talking about Michael Vick issues here. I am a little dumbfounded that all the Steelers got in return was a 5th round draft pick. Holmes is a top 15 receiver in the league, and while he is entering the last year of his contract, he would be worth a first round pick on merit alone. Given some of his off the field issues and probable suspension that might move down to a third round pick, but a fifth round pick is a drastic drop off. It’s even more of a head scratcher considering the number of teams in need of a wide receiver and the complete lack of first round quality receivers.
Also it’s not like the other receivers available in free agency or trade are choir boys. Terrell Owens and Brandon Marshall have had just as bad if not worse issues during their career. While usually I trust the Steelers decision making, especially when it comes to the draft, I am really left questioning this deal. It’s doubtful they could find any receiver that can match Holmes’ production next season, when the Steelers should be a Super Bowl contender. And if they try to add a receiver to just pick up part of the slack, they will have to spend a higher draft pick then they should, creating a weakness on another area of the team.
The Jets on the other hand are going all in in 2010. Both of their starting receivers will be free agents following this season, but they are both very good players and now headline a pretty good receiving corps. Now New York can use their top draft picks to make the league’s best defense even more dominate. This move may definitively move the Jets to the top of the AFC, depending on how the draft plays out for them. Holmes gives them a great play maker, who is a perfect compliment to the taller Braylon Edwards. The two of which should cause significant match up issues for opposing defenses. Holmes also is a great safety net for rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez. Holmes was fantastic in Pittsburgh in coming back to the ball when the play broke down and Roethlisberger was on the run. He should quickly become the go-to-guy in New York (well after the suspension is up) and a favorite of Mark Sanchez.
I credit the Jets in putting Mark Sanchez in the best possible position to succeed (except of course for throwing him into the deep end last season, by starting him from day one). Now though with the additions of Edwards and Holmes, to go along with Cotchery and Keller and the leagues best running game and offensive line, Sanchez has all the tools to take the Jets to the Super Bowl. At this point though there are no more excuses for Mark Sanchez to be anything but a top notch quarterback. The Holmes move (as well as freeing up their draft picks) is the final move on paper to take the Jets to the next level. Even if they don’t end up winning the Super Bowl, this was a fantastic bold move for New York, and one that shows their dedication to winning.