Once you manage to get past the sheer shock of this morning's blockbuster news, the departure of Santonio Holmes is really not such a soul-crushing blow you might think losing a Super Bowl MVP-caliber wide receiver would be. Let's consider the facts...
- Holmes was in the final year of his contract with the Steelers. Given his career, he's likely to command big money next year—money the Steelers are not likely to part with under the best of circumstances.
- There were rumors swirling (confirmed later today) that he would be hit with a four-game suspension for a violation of the league's substance abuse policy. Missing a quarter of the season certainly isn't helping his case.
- The Orlando assault case hanging over him further tarnishes his image , and the unfortunate timing, coming on the heels of Ben Roethlisberger's latest legal scuffle may have helped deflect some of the attention from Ben, but he absorbed it all himself.
- His most recent Twitter posts and other on-line behavior has made him look like an even bigger fool . The front office and Rooney himself are supposedly steaming mad at his lack of restraint, under the circumstances.
When you put it all together, it starts looking like the Steelers acquired a fifth-round draft pick for certain, compared to the team's recent record of not getting better than a fifth-round pick in past years. Of course, that's assuming Holmes doesn't have a third substance policy run-in over the next year that could spell the end of his career in the NFL.
A fifth-round pick in two weeks may not seem like much for a former Super Bowl MVP and Pro Bowl-level of player. But since the Steelers already have a fifth-round compensatory pick in addition to their own fifth-rounder, they could think about packaging the two fifths and throw in their fourth-round pick to move up into the early fourth or possibly the late third round.
If Colbert is feeling particularly ornery, he could try to move his third-, fourth-, and both fifth-round picks for an additional late second-round pick. Depending on who is still on the board at that point it might be a reach worth making in order to fill a position of need with a potential starter instead of taking a handful of late-rounders that may never amount to more than camp fodder.