The New York Jets made a bold trade today when they acquired the talented, but controversial, wide receiver Braylon Edwards from the Cleveland Browns. On talent alone, this trade is a no-brainer for the Jets. As good as Jerricho Cotchery has been this season, the Jets were sorely lacking a big, physical receiver to help him out. By making this trade, the Jets solved that problem and added another weapon to help out rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez.
On paper, adding Edwards to a receiving corps that already has Cotchery and tight end Dustin Keller, the Jets receivers have gone from being mediocre to being pretty good. However, Edwards has had trouble lately both on and off the field. Beginning last season, Edwards has had problems hanging on to the football. He led the NFL last year in dropped passes with 16. So far this season has been much of the same thing. That is not something you expect from a guy who two years ago was one of the NFL's elite wide receivers, catching 80 passes for 1,289 yards and 16 TDs. If Edwards can regain that kind of form, it will only help Mark Sanchez' development as a passer. A big, physical wide receiver can make life easier for any quarterback, much less a rookie. Just ask Eli Manning.
Off the field, Edwards has also had his share of transgressions. First, he was partying with Donte' Stallworth the same night Stallworth hit and killed a man while driving under the influence of alcohol. He has also most recently been accused of punching a friend of Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James in the face. Although no charges have been filed, the NFL and Cleveland Police Department are currently investigating the matter and it could turn into a huge distraction.
The Jets claim they did their due diligence, and I personally would have to believe they researched every possible question before they acquired Edwards. That being said, one has to wonder if this is the kind of influence the Jets want in their locker room, especially on the offensive side with a young rookie quarterback. At 3-1, the Jets are off to a great start. I don't believe they would bring in a guy like Edwards unless they thought he could fit in. Rob Ryan, Cleveland's defensive coordinator, is New York Jets coach Rex Ryan's twin brother. I am sure Rex spoke to Rob about Edwards before the Jets agreed to this trade.
In the end, it remains to be seen what this deal means for the Jets. It was a risky move, for sure, because you just do not know which Braylon Edwards is going to show up. He says his reputation as a malcontent is wrong, and he is intent on proving that. It is possible that he was just miserable playing in Cleveland. Reports claim that he thought the Cleveland fans and media never gave him the benefit of the doubt because he played at the University of Michigan. While he won't have to worry about the Michigan stuff in New York, he will have to deal with a passionate fan base who is dying for a Super Bowl appearance. As for the media, it doesn't get any tougher than New York.