Braylon Edwards Completes New York Jets' Offensive Puzzle
I'm sure all of you have heard by now that the New York Jets have traded for star wide receiver Braylon Edwards.
Can I use the word star? Maybe that's pushing it just a little bit, but he certainly has the potential to be just that.
I delayed writing this article because I wanted to really read through everyone's opinion: NFL analysts, Jets fans, Browns fans, scouts. I wanted to hear what Mike Tannenbaum said about the deal, what some of the Jets players said—you get the point.
First I will give you my personal take on the deal. I think it is a brilliant deal for the Jets.
I know that he has some issues off the field, and I know that he dropped passes last year to the tune of a ratio of 1:4—one drop for every four catches made—but I also realize that this is not just about Braylon Edwards and the production he can bring. This is about the ripple effect that this is going to have on the New York Jets offense as a whole.
Firstly, Tannenbaum has said that Braylon Edwards will dress for the game in Miami on Monday and will play. He referred us back to the game against the Patriots last season in Foxborough where we signed Ty Law during the week and he played extensively in the game. So expect to see a lot of Edwards Monday.
We also need to remember that the offensive coordinator for the Browns is Brian Daboll, who was with us for a couple of years as the QB coach, so he likely took a fair bit of our offense with him to Cleveland. While Braylon has not exactly produced so far this season, it's not easy to build any kind of chemistry with the Browns playing musical chairs at the QB position.
Now what does this do for the offense as a whole?
Firstly, it takes a lot of pressure off Jerricho Cotchery. He has been nothing short of excellent this season. He is as reliable as they come, and his effort after the catch has vaulted him to the top of the receiver rankings so far this season.
However, the problem with this is that Chansi Stuckey is a similar player to Cotchery.
Both of these players are short-intermediate route runners. They thrive making a move off the line, bringing in the catch, and then fighting for the extra yards. Neither is a deep threat, and neither has elite speed. Running a post pattern, both are relatively easy to keep up with, although Cotchery can catch in traffic better than most receivers I have ever seen, the best in a Jets uniform since Wayne Chrebet.
What this meant for defensive teams is that they could play their safeties closer to the line, preventing the Jets from getting any kind of run game going and closing the space across the middle of the field.
Edwards' vertical threat means that safeties will have to respect the pass. They will have to sit deeper, the run game will open up, and the middle of the field where Dustin Keller likes to work is going to be more open than it has so far this season, which can only increase the offensive production of both the Jets' running backs and Keller.
Add to that that Braylon has Pro Bowl potential like we saw in 2007, and his own personal production will complete this offense.
When thinking about a good offense, you want an attack on all four levels. You want the run game back with a good offensive line. Check. You want short pass plays with a receiver who can work after the catch. Check. You want an intermediate route runner who can work over the middle. Check. You want that deep threat who is going to spread the field and be used for jump fade balls in the EZ. Check.
I know that some people doubt his attitude, and there is validity to that, but I think that he was stuck in a rut in Cleveland. He is a loud guy who likes to talk, and Eric Mangini is possibly the worst coach to nurture that kind of personality. Rex Ryan, on the other hand, is a perfect fit. Like Kerry Rhodes said, we have a coach who you want to go out there and play for.
Financially the Browns have already paid 25 percent of his 2009 salary, and he is looking for an extension. Tannenbaum is a cap wizard; he finds ways to clear space to make the moves that benefit the team.
With there being some questions surrounding the uncapped status of next year, don't expect any extension to come about within the week. We still have to take care of Leon Washington, remember, but this is not a short-term move. This is a long-term move to give Mark Sanchez a legitimate No. 1 receiver to grow with. Let's not forget that Marshall is also a young receiver in this league.
The league is investigating the incident Monday morning involving Edwards outside a Cleveland nightclub. However, Tannenbaum addressed these issues and said that the organization investigated extensively into the incidents and felt comfortable making the move to bring him to this organization.
Only time will tell if this will be a successful move, but I have to give credit to the GM for going out and making a move to improve what was considered the weak link of the team.
I like Chansi Stuckey. I think he is a solid receiver, but a guy like Stuckey comes around all the time. A guy like Edwards does not. So if you are given the chance to attain a player like Edwards for Stuckey a special teamer and a third and fifth pick, you have to make that trade, regardless of his drop issues and his off the field status.
The third round draft pick is a conditional pick that could escalate to a second round pick based on performance. However, Adam Schefter reported that it is unlikely he will meet the demands of the conditional pick because the targets are quite high.
For me, Braylon Edwards is now a Jet, and I will judge him for what he does as a Jet. His past is his past. This is a new start a new man. His drops, his issues off the field—they are in Cleveland; he is in New York.
Welcome to the Jets.
P.S. Braylon will be introduced at the Jets' training complex at 4:00pm EST time today.
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