Santonio Holmes is gone -- at last

March, 10, 2014
Mar 10
3:30
PM ET
A few takeaways on Santonio Holmes' long-anticipated release by the New York Jets:

1. Good riddance: This was a long time coming. The Jets would've cut him last year if it weren't for the 2013 guarantee ($7.5 million) in his contract. Holmes was the ultimate diva, causing problems when things didn't go his way. He was the root of the locker-room turmoil in 2012, clashing with Mark Sanchez in a meeting and getting thrown out of the huddle by teammates in the season finale. Holmes and Sanchez met in the offseason to patch up their relationship, with Holmes telling Sanchez he'd be a team player. It sounded sincere at first, but he reverted to his selfish ways, telling Sanchez he wanted at least five catches per game. Because of Holmes, mistakenly named a captain that year by Rex Ryan, the Jets abolished the practice of making permanent captains. That will be Holmes' legacy.

Holmes
2. A quarter-million dollars per catch: Former general manager Mike Tannenbaum made a nice trade in 2010, picking up Holmes for the fire-sale price of a fifth-round draft pick. With a substance-abuse suspension looming, the Pittsburgh Steelers were desperate to unload the former Super Bowl MVP. The Jets got one good year out of Holmes, who delivered many clutch plays, but their mistake was overpaying when he hit free agency in 2011 -- five years, $45 million. Holmes benefited from the perfect storm. Because of the lockout, it was a late free-agent period. The Jets didn't have another No. 1-caliber receiver, so they were desperate -- and they got squeezed by Holmes. He collected $24 million the past three years, which breaks down to $255,319 per reception.

3. A hard lesson: The Holmes debacle should serve as a cautionary tale for John Idzik, who soon will be doling out the first big free-agent contracts of his GM tenure: Don't invest significant money in players with character issues. More often than not, you get burned. As they attempt to rebuild the wide receiver position, through free agency and the draft, the Jets should put an added emphasis on the intangibles, looking for team-oriented players not afflicted by the "disease of me," as Pat Riley once said. Granted, it's hard to find those guys at receiver, a diva position, but they're out there.

4. A new No. 1: The Jets just dumped their most accomplished receiver, so they need to find a new No. 1. They have a No. 3 (Jeremy Kerley) and a No. 4 (David Nelson), along with a wild card (Stephen Hill). They can find a No. 2 in free agency, a No. 2 who probably will be miscast in a lead role. The future No. 1 probably will come from the draft, one of the richest receiver drafts in history.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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