Santonio Holmes gets shown the door; Dez Bryant trying to open one
Holmes' sudden trade to Jets sends message to other Steelers players
Tim Tebow could end up with Vikings; Bryant fits well with these five teams
Stat of the Week examines pass-rush proficiency, plus much more
Now this is redonkulous. Donovan McNabb from Philadelphia to the Redskins at 8 p.m. last Sunday. Santonio Holmes from Pittsburgh to the Jets at 11:15 this Sunday night. The state of Pennsylvania obviously has no respect for the offseason sleep habits of Mr. Monday Morning QB.
Holmes to the Jets. A 26-year-old Super Bowl MVP traded for a fifth-round pick. A healthy star receiver coming off a 1,248-yard season, for the 155th overall choice in the draft.
Six quick points about a deal almost as stunning as the McNabb trade:
1. It's a 12-game trial for New York. It's a great deal for the Jets, obviously, but it comes with a giant asterisk. Profootballtalk.com reports Holmes is due to start the season on a four-game NFL suspension for violation of the league's substance-abuse policy. He's also been accused of assaulting a woman in Florida for allegedly throwing a glass of juice in her face and cutting her. Since this is the last year of Holmes' rookie contract, the Steelers are trading three-quarters of Holmes' 2010 season for a fifth-round pick, which makes a little more sense.
2. The Steelers are sending a message to Ben Roethlisberger, and to any other future miscreants on the team. We've all heard how chagrined the Steelers are over this offseason. ESPN reported Saturday there will be no criminal charges brought against Roethlisberger over his sexual-assault allegation by a 20-year-old coed in March -- I heard the same thing from a reliable source Sunday night -- but there could still be a civil suit filed by the family. And he still must meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
It's unlikely the commissioner would use use his far-reaching "the-shield-has-been-tarnished'' powers to suspend Roethlisberger for a brief period at the start of the season for his second sex-related accusation in eight months, especially without criminal charges. What may make more sense is a ban of a game or two by the upstanding Steelers, who could use conduct-detrimental-to-the-team as a reason to sit Roethlisberger. In a city like Pittsburgh, the populace would applaud a slap upside the head to Big Ben.
In the meantime, the Steelers, I believe, are saying to Roethlisberger: You have two strikes on you, and you're out if you get another strike. This is a decision of conscience for Pittsburgh, not a football decision.
3. This happened very suddenly, too sudden for the Steelers to troll the NFL to see if they could make a better deal, which they almost certainly could have done. When I say sudden, I mean Sunday. I hear the first inkling the Jets got of this deal came in a phone call Sunday, and GM Mike Tannenbaum jumped on it.
Now, it's possible the Jets have too many at-risk players. A four-game suspension for substance-abuse means Holmes is one positive test away from a year out of football. Fellow Jet wideout Braylon Edwards could be facing a one-game ban for pleading no contest to misdemeanor aggravated disorderly conduct. The Jets previously dealt for talented but troubled Antonio Cromartie (seven children in five states), who the Chargers were determined to unload this offseason.
4. Rex Ryan absolutely loves Holmes. It's no secret that the Jets coach thought Holmes was the most dangerous receiver he faced. Before taking the Jets job, Ryan was the Ravens' defensive coordinator. In 2007, second-year receiver Holmes caught eight balls for 208 yards and three touchdowns against the Ravens in two games. In 2008, Pittsburgh swept the Ravens in three low-scoring meetings, the last being the AFC Championship Game. In those three games, Pittsburgh totaled three offensive touchdowns -- all scoring receptions by Holmes.
Ryan's throwing a party this morning, and when Holmes walks into the Jets' complex in Florham Park, N.J., Ryan will hug him like a college roommate he hasn't seen for 30 years.
5. In retrospect, maybe we saw this coming. The Steelers signed Arnaz Battle, a poor man's Hines Ward, last month, and also brought back former all-purpose receiver Antwaan Randle El; they hosted immensely talented Dez Bryant, the top wide receiver in the draft, on a two-day visit a week ago. Mike Wallace emerged as a major threat as a rookie with a 756-yard, six-touchdown season. They could open the season with a respectable receiver group by doing nothing in the draft.
6. Jets-Steelers, in Pittsburgh, is more must-see TV for the NFL this fall. The schedule-maker is kind. We can only hope the game is in the last 13 weeks of the season, so Holmes will be there to face the team he helped get that sixth ring.
Last thing: The Jets are amazing. They've become a little like the old Raiders (we're afraid of taking no one on our team), a little like the Yankees (we'll sign anyone to win), and a little like the Dan Snyder Redskins (we love headlines!) in the last year. With any luck, they'll sign all-decade player Jason Taylor to be a designated pass-rusher by Wednesday. And with all the additions, they've retained their first- and second-round picks, 29th and 61st overall. If they don't implode, they're going to a damn good team.
Now, before the Holmes trade so rudely interrupted the evening, other news around the league:
Favre succeeded by ... Tebow? The Vikings, who pick 30th in the first round, had a private workout with Florida quarterback/NFL temptor Tim Tebow Saturday. Though I think it's a long shot that Minnesota would use the 30th pick of the first round to take Tebow, it's interesting that coach Brad Childress and VP of personnel Rick Spielman, who have the draft-day juice, were both present for the workout, according to a Florida source.
All along I've felt Tebow needs to go to a spot where he can have a peaceful redshirt year or two, and assuming Brett Favre plays one or two more years (now we're getting ahead of ourselves), Tebow to the Vikes makes some sense, particularly if Childress feels he's the kind of prospect that two of the quarterback coaches he admires most -- Andy Reid and Mike Holmgren -- think he is.
By the way, Tebow was in Cleveland and Washington last week, and he visits Denver this week. I hear the Cleveland coaches were very taken with him, and if he's there when they pick in round two (number 38 overall), or they trade down from number 7 in the first round, well, who knows?
Sam Bradford works out for Washington and St. Louis this week. The workouts happen Thursday and Friday. They are formalities. Unless something strange happens, it's hard to envision anything standing in the way of Bradford to the Rams with the top pick on April 22. The only strange thing I see is Cleveland paying a ransom to move up to pick Bradford -- like the seventh and 38th picks this year, and the Browns' first-rounder next year, plus something else.
I keep hearing the Rams believe Bradford's significantly better than the other quarterbacks, and if they do, what sense does it make to trade a franchise quarterback so you can be in position to take a quarterback with a couple more holes, and then other top prospects? At the end of the day, you're not going to be sure if you plugged the biggest hole you've got, and if you haven't, and if it's a Brady Quinn situation all over again, then what sense does it make to do the deal? None.
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