Former Michigan Star Braylon Edwards Gets Fresh Start in New York

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IOctober 7, 2009

ANN ARBOR - October 30:  Wide receiver Braylon Edwards #1 of Michigan catches a touchdown pass defended by Jaren Hayes #31 of Michigan State at Michigan Stadium on October 30, 2004 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The Michigan Wolverines defeated the Michigan State Spartans 45-37.  (Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images)

Former Michigan receiver Braylon Edwards has been traded to the New York Jets today in a move to get the much-maligned receiver a fresh start.

Edwards, who starred for Michigan from 2001-04, was originally drafted in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft (third overall) by the Cleveland Browns.

In his four-plus years with the Browns, Edwards caught 238 passes for 3,697 yards and 28 touchdowns.

Much of his rookie season was spent on the sidelines following a knee injury, but the following season he showed a glimpse of what he is capable of.

His third season was a breakout year in which Edwards caught 80 passes for 1,289 yards and 16 touchdowns, earning a Pro Bowl nod and giving Cleveland fans hope that their decade-long misery was about to end.

However, last season was filled with dropped passes and poor play en route to a disappointing 4-12 season.

The Browns changed coaches in the offseason, picking Eric Mangini to replace Romeo Crennel (both Bill Belichick disciples). Mangini's overbearing, micro-managing style and mismanagement of the team's quarterbacks contrasted Crennel's laid-back demeanor, leading to unrest with Edwards.

Through four games, Edwards had just 10 catches for 139 yards and no touchdowns.

Following last week's game, Edwards ran into trouble at a night club, allegedly punching promoter Edward Givens, a friend of Cleveland Cavs star LeBron James. It became apparent that Edwards, in the last year of his contract with the Browns, needed a fresh start.

He was traded to New York for receiver Chansi Stuckey, special teams player Jason Trusnik, and two undisclosed draft picks.

In my opinion, this is a win-win for everybody involved.

Edwards gets a fresh start with a team that is already one win away from matching the Browns' win total in two of the four seasons Edwards was there. He also gets out of a town full of Ohio State fans.

The Browns dump a high-priced receiver in a season that is lost already, allowing youngsters like Mohamed Massaquoi, Mike Furrey, Josh Cribbs, Robert Royal, and now Stuckey to develop without being overshadowed by the ego of a big-name receiver.

The Jets get a talented and proven deep threat to go along with Jerricho Cotchery and tight end Dustin Keller. Edwards will certainly help ease rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez's transition to the NFL.

Sanchez played well in his first three games, completing 59 percent of his passes for four touchdowns and two interceptions.

He struggled in last week's loss at New Orleans, however, completing just 14 of 27 passes for 138 yards, no touchdowns, and three interceptions.

Cotchery has caught twice as many passes (23) as any other Jets receiver. Next closest was Keller with 14 catches, followed by Stuckey and running back Leon Washington with 11.

Let's face it: Stuckey is no Braylon Edwards, meaning opposing defenses must now focus on more than just Cotchery. Two bona fide receivers on the outside mean Keller could get even more looks over the middle.

As long as Edwards is able to stay out of trouble in New York, he should be show that his 2007 production was more than a fluke.

In his career at Michigan, Edwards became one of the school's greatest receivers all-time. He set Michigan single-season records for receptions (97) and yards (1,330) and career records for receptions (252), yards (3,541), and touchdowns (39), as well as the Big Ten conference touchdown record.

He had 17 games of 100 receiving yards or more and won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver in 2004. He is also the only receiver in Big Ten history (and third in all of NCAA FBS history) to tally three seasons of 1,000 receiving yards.

Edwards' performance against Michigan State in 2004 will go down as one of the best single-game performances in recent Michigan history. He helped Michigan erase a 17-point deficit by catching two fourth-quarter touchdowns and adding a third in the third overtime to win 45-37.

Let's hope there are more great moments to come for Edwards in New York.