2011 NFL Free Agency: What Should the New York Jets Do With Santonio Holmes?

Jim MancariCorrespondent IFebruary 8, 2011

2011 NFL Free Agency: What Should the New York Jets Do With Santonio Holmes?

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    Coming off back-to-back AFC Championship appearances, the New York Jets seem to be in good shape heading into next season.

    However, free agency may take its toll on their roster.

    David Harris, Antonio Cromartie, Brad Smith and Braylon Edwards are all free agents.

    But the most prolific member of the group is Santonio Holmes.

    The Jets should prioritize bringing back Holmes, and here are 10 reasons why.

10. One of the Best WR Available

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    Of the receivers available via free agency, Holmes is arguably the best of the bunch.

    Sidney Rice is coming off an injury where he missed half the season. Randy Moss played for three different teams this year. Terrell Owens is finally starting to show his age.

    Holmes is only 26, so many teams may come knocking for his services.

    It's important that the Jets lock him up early.

9. Punt Return Capability

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    Antonio Cromartie did the yeoman's share of punt returning for the Jets last season.

    He's a free agent, and rumors have surfaced that he may be the first of New York's free agents to go.

    Cotchery also did a fine job in the punt return game. If Cromartie goes, he would take over punt returns for the most part.

    Holmes returned a few punts for the Jets this season and would provide some insurance for injury or lack of productivity in that area.

8. 1,000 Yard Capability

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    Though he was suspended for the first four games of the season, Holmes still put up big time numbers.

    In 12 games, he caught 52 passes for 746 yards and six touchdowns. He averaged 62.2 yards per game and 14.3 yards per catch.

    Having a 1,000-yard threat on an offense that focuses on the run is huge. It worked well for the Jets last season and could prosper again this year.

7. Sure Hands

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    When compared to Edwards, Holmes definitely has the better hands.

    Edwards has the size, and they both have good speed, but he also has shown a knack for the big drop.

    If the Jets can only re-sign one, Holmes would be the better option.

6. Polished Route Running

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    Holmes showed this year, and throughout his career, that he is a polished route runner.

    Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is starting to come into his own. He would definitely benefit from having both Holmes and Edwards around.

    However, Sanchez will need at least one to continue his development. It is important for a young quarterback to have his favorite target, and that could be Holmes for Sanchez.

5. Rex Ryan's Got His Back

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    Apparently, everyone loves playing for Rex Ryan, including Holmes.

    Following the loss to the Steelers in the AFC Championship game, Holmes told reporters that they needed to ask Jets Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer about why Holmes did not start.

    Rex Ryan responded with the following:

    "That's not the way I like to operate. But it talks about the emotions that you're feeling at the time."

    Ryan understood that the season-ending loss weighed heavily with Holmes and that Holmes was speaking based on raw emotion.

    Holmes is still trying to clean up his act, but having Ryan as his coach would allow for a more gradual character change.

    Ryan has become the biggest character in the league, after all, and that's not a bad thing.

4. Holmes Mirrors Jets' New Reputation

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    Since Rex Ryan took over as head coach, the Jets have developed an "us against the world" mentality.

    They relish in being considered the underdog. Just look how it helped them on the road in the playoffs against the Colts, Patriots and almost against the Steelers.

    Holmes fits in nicely with this mentality, based on his attitude and demeanor.

    If the Jets keep winning, I wonder how long this mentality will continue. Probably until they win a Super Bowl.

    But as long as it works, it should be used.

3. Super Bowl Experience

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    Not many players on the Jets roster have ever played in the Super Bowl.

    Not only has Holmes played in the Super Bowl, but he won MVP in his only appearance.

    He also made one of the greatest, most clutch catches in Super Bowl history. That catch rivals David Tyree's catch on his helmet for the New York Giants in their defeat of the Patriots in 2008.

    Retaining a player with that sort of Super Bowl resume would do wonders for the Jets, especially since they've come so close the last two seasons.

2. Clutch Plays Late in Games

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    While Edwards showed a knack for drops, Holmes showed a knack for making game-deciding catches for the Jets this season.

    New York gave up a late lead to the Cleveland Browns in Week 10, and the game headed to overtime. Sanchez found Holmes on a seam route, who scampered into the end zone for a game-winning 37-yard touchdown.

    The very next week, the Jets found themselves down 27-24 to the Houston Texans. With 10 seconds left, Holmes caught another clutch touchdown pass from Sanchez, as the Jets went on to win, 30-24.

    This type of clutch play ability will be vital to the Jets' success moving forward.

1. The Celebration

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    Holmes perfected "The Jet" last season. The celebration tactic has become iconic for the New York Jets and must reappear next year.

    If Holmes re-signs with the Jets, he will continue to spread his wings and fly for Gang Green.