Today New York Jets owner Woody Johnson told Manish Mehta of The New York Daily News that receiver Santonio Holmes will be back with the team in 2012. Johnson said the strained relationship between Holmes and quarterback Mark Sanchez was a concern but he felt the receiver was one the best players the franchise has ever had.
While I get that it would be terribly expensive to get rid of Holmes after the Jets signed him to a five-year, $45.25 million contract before the 2011 season, it might be money well spent. Since the end of the season numerous reports have surfaced claiming that Holmes tore the Jets' locker room apart.
Holmes was actually benched during the team's final game of the season, and teammates openly questioned whether or not he had quit on the team. Apparently on the field in the team's season finale against the Miami Dolphins, Holmes got into shouting matches with Sanchez and offensive tackle Wayne Hunter on back-to-back possessions.
One player even called him "a cancer" and said, "It's like dealing with a 10-year-old."
How could Johnson even think that bringing a guy like that back to the team, especially after all of these reports have surfaced publicly, would be a good idea? I know there is a ton of money involved in this decision, the Jets can't be successful until a guy like Holmes is removed from the equation.
Holmes is a talented receiver, but he's clearly not worth the headache.
The Jets owe Holmes $7.75 million in guaranteed base salary in 2012, and if he's on the roster on March 14 they will owe him another $7.5 million for 2013.
As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk points out, Johnson claiming that Holmes is on safe footing because of his talent might actually make the receiver even more of a pain to deal with. If he thinks he's untouchable, what incentive does he have to change his ways?
The fact that Johnson has guaranteed Holmes will return next season is a terrible thing for New York's locker room and likely will hinder its chance at success.