It’s only natural that beleaguered, yet highly-talented wide receiver Braylon Edwards should join rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez on the New York Jets' roster. Both players came to New York courtesy of the Cleveland Browns and their undying quest to build a competitive franchise—in New York.
The Jets acquired the oft-troubled, former Pro Bowl receiver from the Browns in exchange for wide receiver Chansi Stuckey, linebacker Jason Trusnik, and draft picks.
Edwards, the third overall selection in the 2005 NFL Draft, may drop some passes but he also possesses the athletic ability and size to be one of the best receivers in the NFL. The 6’3” wideout should be a welcome addition to New York’s offensive arsenal despite his off-field problems.
Edwards could form a productive tandem with Sanchez, the first-year quarterback from USC who also came to the Jets via a trade with the Cleveland Browns.
In April, the Browns and their new leader, former Jets head coach Eric Mangini, gave up the fifth overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft in exchange for the Jets’ 17th overall pick, their second-round pick, and three ex-Jets, strong safety Abram Elam, defensive end Kenyon Coleman, and quarterback Brett Ratliff.
This isn’t the first time Cleveland’s moves have benefited New York, the city that doesn’t sleep on good deals.
When the Cleveland Indians made it clear that they were unwilling to re-sign starting pitcher CC Sabathia for big bucks in 2008, New York profited from Cleveland’s cost-cutting move. Sabathia signed with the Yankees in the offseason and became the team’s ace, winning a major league-best 19 games this season. Cleveland shipping magnate and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner had unlocked the door to unlimited opportunity in Cleveland.
Now, the Browns’ deal with the Jets stands as the latest act of philanthropy between the two cities.
Cleveland hasn’t won professional sports championship since the Browns captured the 1964 NFL Championship but the city’s franchises have no problem helping the Big Apple in its title aspirations. Oddly, the Browns have donated a talented, young quarterback and a gifted Pro Bowl receiver and all they have to show for their continued kindness is a 0-4 record.
The deal was a no-brainer for Edwards, as he was already disgruntled in Cleveland.
He drew the ire of Cleveland Cavaliers forward and Ohio native LeBron James with his alleged participation in an altercation with the NBA superstar’s friend Edward Givens on Monday. Edwards, a Detroit native and former University of Michigan star, has faced the wrath of Cleveland fans the past two seasons. This year, the Browns drafted wide receiver Brian Robiskie, a high school star in Cleveland and college standout at Ohio State.
In New York, Edwards has a chance to become the team’s No. 1 wide receiver and should savor the opportunity to enter the lineup of a winning team. Sanchez has proven to be a great fit with the Jets, winning his first three games before falling to the undefeated New Orleans Saints on the road.
Meanwhile, the Browns haven’t found a quarterback they can rely on and since the end of the 2008 season they have traded their best receiving targets, tight end Kellen Winslow and Edwards.
The Jets are in first place in the AFC East and even if they don’t make the playoffs and neither Sanchez nor Edwards become superstars, maybe the Browns will still find the Jets a nice holiday present.