Thursday, June 2, 2011
Lockout analysis: Receivers/tight ends
By Rich Cimini
ESPNNewYork.com is providing a daily breakdown on how the lockout is affecting the individual position groups.
Position: Wide receiver/tight end.
Depth chart: WR -- Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Brad Smith, Patrick Turner, Logan Payne, Jeremy Kerley (R), Scotty McKnight (R); TE -- Dustin Keller, Matt Mulligan, Jeff Cumberland.
Not under contract: Holmes, Edwards, Smith.
Player hurt most by the lockout: Cumberland.
Player with most to gain: Edwards.
Analysis: It's not farfetched to say the immediate future of the wide-receiver position will be shaped by the outcome of the work stoppage. If the 2010 free-agency rules are used (looking less and less likely), the Jets can retain Holmes and Smith on one-year tenders as restricted free agents. If unrestricted free agency is set at four credited seasons (pre-2010 rules), both players will hit the open market. Hello, Armageddon. Either way, Edwards will be a UFA, and he should do well for himself in a thin market. If the Jets lose him, they will look at Randy Moss, Plaxico Burress and other vets.
Cumberland, who basically red-shirted his rookie year, has a chance to work his way into the mix with the departure of Ben Hartsock. Cumberland is raw and could've benefitted immensely from an offseason with the coaches and in the weight room. The lockout also has affected Cotchery, but in a different way. He underwent back surgery in February, but because the team facility is off limits, he's had to rehab at a private office in New Jersey. Cotchery is progressing nicely, but admitted recently that he missed the comfort level at the team facility.
Interesting note: Eight of the 11 receivers and tight ends turned out for Mark Sanchez's passing camp last month in Southern California, an impressive show of solidarity.