Plaxico Burress, Randy Moss, Bralyon Edwards: Who Should the Jets Sign?
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With 16 pending free agents, Gang Green could watch its once boastful roster that led the team to a second straight AFC title game disappear in a matter of minutes as free agents willfully and quickly sign new contracts before any type of training camp begins.
Names like Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, Brad Smith, Shaun Ellis, and Antonio Cromartie are among the notable Jet players that will hit the market when the owners and players finally agree to a settlement in this bitter three month long litigation melee.
It's not fair to say that the Jets will suddenly mirror the 1994 Montreal Expos, a team that seemed destined for greatness, only to see the infamous MLB players strike kill their World Series chances and begin a destitute of misery for years to come, as they watched their prized stars leave for bigger contracts when baseball returned.
The Jets have money to spend, they have bright people in their building, and there isn't a person on this planet who would not want to play for Rex Ryan. Plus it's New York, and the Jets are a hottest ticket in town not named the New York Yankees.
The big question regarding the Jets free agent desires almost squarely focuses on the wide receiver position.
Last season, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez benefited greatly from having two top flight receivers in Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes. Even though both Holmes (suspended four games due to substance abuse) and Edwards (suspended a quarter for a DUI) had their off-the-field issues, when it came time to making big plays at big moments, both players stood out for the Jets.
Who can forget Edwards catch down the sidelines against Houston to set up the winning score during the regular season, and his acrobatic catch in Indianapolis to set up the winning field goal in the playoffs?
Who could forget Holmes' heroics. First it was his ability to draw a flag for defensive pass interference in Denver to set up the winning touchdown in a miraculous victory. He caught two game-winning touchdowns to beat the Browns and Texans in the waning seconds to send the Jets home victorious.
Both players have been amazing for Gang Green, and chances are one of them will return.
Both have expressed interest in returning. Edwards even showed up to train with Mark Sanchez at his camp in California.
Yet, there is no guarantee that either will return. Both will request top flight receiver money. The Jets, who will be looking to fill other positions of need, may not be able to keep both of them; especially if the new CBA has a strict salary cap.
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Not too long ago both Moss and Burress were two of the games best wide receivers. At one time Moss was the NFL's number one receiver, when he hauled in 23 touchdown passes in 2007 with New England, and looked like the guy who lit the league on fire as a rookie in 1998.
Speculation started a month ago that if the Jets couldn't sign Edwards or Holmes, than Moss would be a guy the Jets would target.
Considering the horrible season Moss had last year when he burned his bridges in New England, only to be traded back to Minnesota where he imploded with Brett Favre and Brad Childress, before being shipped to Tennessee where he virtually disappeared, this is a guy the Jets should stay away from.
Moss has a history of raising a ruckus wherever he goes. From assaulting a female police officer, to marijuana possession and quitting on his team in Minnesota in the early 2000s, to lack of effort in Oakland and finally a screaming fest with Tom Brady, Moss wore out his welcome everywhere.
To think that Rex Ryan can play lion tamer to this bad boy is probably asking too much. Sure Moss would be a good boy like he was in 2007 when he joined New England, but the love-in, as we all know will end very quickly and badly.
Then there is Burress. Burress recently ripped into Giants coach Tom Coughlin, calling his relationship with the prickly coach "ambivalent," and citing that Coughlin never had a "open door policy," as coach, causing Burress to "rebel."
Burress was always late for meetings with Big Blue and was a headache, sometimes for lack of effort. When the Super Bowl star shot himself, it was the final straw in a long line of debauchery from Burress, who was sent to state prison.
Now 34 years old, Burress wants back into the league and is intrigued by the Jets. Certainly Burress will have the motivation to behave and play hard after what he went through the past two years, but the big question with Burress is how much does he have left at his age?
Thirty-four is not 28, Michael Vick's age when he was released from jail. Still, if the Jets can get him at a decent price he might be worth it, especially for a year or two. Even though he drove Coughlin insane, he was not vilified by his teammates the way Randy Moss or Terrell Owens have habits of doing on their teams.The Giants liked playing with Burress.
Burress would be a welcome addition to the Jets. And if Holmes is still here, Gang Green would have two ex-Steelers wide receivers. Not bad.
However, the best scenario for Gang Green is to keep both Edwards and Holmes long term. Both receivers are still very young, Holmes is 27, and Edwards 28. Holmes is a Super Bowl MVP, a guy with a knack for the clutch and numbers that have been getting better every year.
As for Edwards, he had a break out year in Cleveland in 2007, but then disappeared as the Browns became more irrelevant and he got flustered with that team. Edwards was reborn when he came to the Jets, and it showed as he had 904 yards receiving last year.
The chemistry those two have with Mark Sanchez cannot be ignored either, and for a team that has Super Bowl aspirations, why mess with a good thing?
If Edwards and Holmes are willing to take less money to play for the Jets in an unstable post lockout NFL, the Jets are better for it.
Maybe they can ride that chemistry to the Super Bowl—finally.
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