The big question around the NFL today is will New York Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards play Sunday against the Miami Dolphins? It’s a pretty good question to ask too. The Jets have three options, two of which could setup a pretty big fight with the NFL Players Association.
First option – suspension. It’s been talked about all day how he didn’t violate the personal conduct policy which prevents the league from suspending him. If Rex Ryan and the Jets took this action themselves then there would definitely be some problems. This would cause one huge fight with the union and I doubt that’s a route the league would the Jets take, especially with the current labor situation.
Second option – Edwards is inactive. This option is the one most people are expecting, I’m not quite sure thou. Deactivating Braylon for one game would be the most ideal for the Jets as they would be able to replace him on the active roster. He’d get his “suspension” and the team wouldn’t have to play short. But here is where things could get crazy.
The union would fight this, even thou Edwards would get paid it would essentially be a suspension. Even with the entire world knowing that’s what is the NFLPA would have no actual proof that is. The Jets could easily use the excuse that Edwards didn’t matchup well against the Dolphins, so they left him off the roster. They could claim a phantom injury and get team doctors to play along.
With all the complexities and the long drawn out fight that an “inactive” Edwards would cause is the reason I don’t think the Jets take this option.
Third option – benching. This would be the best option for the Jets as they’re protected from any action by the NFLPA. Edwards would be on the active roster and getting paid for his services that the Jets decided not to use. Rex would simply have decided just not to use him, much like Giants head coach Tom Coughlin did Sunday night with Brandon Jacobs. The union would not be able to fight this at all, while the Jets make their point that this type of behavior won’t be tolerated.
There’s no denying that Edwards is a complete idiot for not utilizing the Players Protect program (a personal car service for players under the influence) and deserves to be punished. And I’d sooo love to see teams stand up to players who think they can do what they want this isn’t the proper way. The league has systems in place to deal with substance abuse and personal conduct, while it isn’t the best it works in a way.
So unfortunately, the Jets can’t take this action on their own, let the legal process run its course and let the league take the appropriate action.
While, I’ve said the Jets should not take action on their own, I believe there is one group that can punish Edwards. And that’s his teammates. If Ryan wants to bench Edwards he should let the team vote on this, if they agree then he’s on the bench.
Getting benched by his teammates and not the Jets themselves would serve as the ultimate punishment to any player.