Crown Jewel: Who Is the Most Valuable Free Agent the Jets Can Re-Sign?

Chris Dela RosaContributor IApril 15, 2011

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 16:  Braylon Edwards #17 and Santonio Holmes #10 of the New York Jets celebrate on their way to defeating the New England Patriots 28 to 21 victory over the New England Patriots during their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

After the 2010 season, 13 Jets players became free agents.  

Some of which are key player to the Jets offense and defense, like Braylon Edward, Santonio Holmes and Brad Smith; on defense, Eric Smith, Shaun Ellis, Brodney Pool and Antonio Cromartie.

Of these players, only a few will return in 2011 wearing green and white. While one can argue that there is one particular player they must re-sign when the time comes, there are actually two players that the Jets need to return next season.  

The first of the two is receiver Santonio Holmes.  

After being suspended for four games in 2010, Holmes returned without missing a beat, his statistics this year were almost as high as Braylon Edwards, as he finished the season with 52 receptions for 746 yards with six touchdowns.

What the statistics do not show is how many of those catches came in clutch situations when the Jets needed someone else to step up (i.e. catching the game winning touchdown passes against Houston and Cleveland). Not to mention, Holmes could be a good mentor to young quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Since entering the league, Holmes has seen the good, the bad and the ugly. The good came when he won a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. The bad and ugly came when he was suspended for violating the NFL's the NFL's substance abuse policy.

The second player is cornerback Antonio Cromartie.  

The Jets acquired him at the end of the 2009-2010 season, when their secondary failed them in the AFC Championship game against the Colts. He may not be Darrelle Revis, but Cromartie provides the Jets with a lot more opportunities on defense.

For example, Rex Ryan is known for his exotic blitzes, with Cromartie and Revis at the cornerback positions, Ryan can blitz more people and have his secondary players play man coverage. In order to keep the title of "one of the NFL's top defenses," Antonio Cromartie or another cornerback of his caliber is key.

Depending on when the lockout ends, look for the Jets to make moves for these players. 

Last year, they were great additions that helped the Jets win and make the AFC Championship Game two years in a row.

If the Jets want to further their success to winning a Super Bowl, these two are the first step to achieving that goal.


*Statistics from

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