Santonio + Braylon = Impossible?

March, 6, 2011
3/06/11
3:50
PM ET
Your Sunday notes on the Jets, etc.:

Does someone have to go? I talked to a GM who isn’t buying the chatter from the Jets about how they want to keep both starting wide receivers, Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes. That, the GM said, makes no financial sense. He suspects they’ll string along Edwards as a fallback option until (if) they get Holmes signed. The GM also doesn’t see how the Jets will be able to re-sign CB Antonio Cromartie after giving major bucks last season to Darrelle Revis. Too much money tied up in one position, especially with a No. 1 pick – Kyle Wilson – waiting in the wings.

End of an error. The release of Vernon Gholston, though hardly a surprise, had a lot of folks buzzing around the league. The Jets, picking sixth overall in 2008, completely whiffed on Gholston – and they have a well-respected scouting department. “You have to ask yourself, ‘How do you miss on a guy like that and how do you learn from it so nothing like that ever happens again?’” said an opposing personnel executive, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The Jets insist that Gholston was an organizational decision, but some familiar with the team’s thinking say then-coach Eric Mangini was the driving force behind the choice. Clearly, he – or they – were seduced by Gholston’s impressive workout numbers. It was an anomaly because the Jets’ draft honchos usually don’t get sucked in by size-speed guys; they base decisions on college production.

So did the organization learn anything by the mistake? Let’s see: Gholston was a one-year wonder at Ohio State, but in the very next draft, the Jets picked two players that had only one productive year in college – Mark Sanchez (USC) and Shonn Greene (Iowa). Both picks have worked out.

Sometimes you hit a double in the gap and sometimes you strike out.

Funny money. Some readers (even some NFL types) seemed incredulous this week upon learning that Gholston could’ve triggered a $9 million escalator for only one sack or one forced fumble in 2010. (The nugget was actually reported a few months ago by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.) The thing is, Gholston never was going to see that money. It wasn’t guaranteed, so he was going to get cut even if he got a sack. Does anybody think the Jets would make it that easy to trigger a $9 million bonus?

Funny aside: In December, I asked Gholston about the $9 million clause and he had no idea it was included in the contract that he renegotiated last offseason. Another aside: I know of at least one team willing to give Gholston another chance – as long as he signs for the minimum salary.

Show them the money. Some prominent agents didn’t recruit incoming rookies because of the possibility of a lockout. Here’s why: These days, agents spend roughly $15,000 to $20,000 per month for their rookie clients to work out for a few months before the draft with personal trainers at chic resorts. With a lockout they’d ask to spend more time at the resorts, and some agents didn’t feel it was worth it to foot that kind of bill.

The Bud-Jets. By cutting Damien Woody, Kris Jenkins, Jason Taylor, Ben Hartsock and Gholston, the Jets cleared about $15 million from the 2011 payroll … Out of those five, the player with the best chance of returning is Jenkins ... Gholston will land a job somewhere, probably for the minimum salary. There were rumors before the ’08 draft that the Patriots, picking behind the Jets, were hot for him. (Some believe that’s why Mangini wanted him so badly, to stick it to his former mentor, Bill Belichick.) Well, he’s there for the taking, having cleared waivers … Bart Scott, speaking on ESPN’s First Take, had this to say about the impact of the Jets’ stunning playoff win over the Patriots: “Now we can have a fun rivalry like Baltimore and Pittsburgh because we’ve both taken something from each other.”

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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