Passing on Holmes not egregious error

April, 12, 2010
4/12/10
11:07
AM ET
Dolfans are apoplectic.

How in the Everglades did their Miami Dolphins miss out on the rummage sale that allowed star receiver Santonio Holmes to end up with the New York Jets?

Fans of a few other teams, including the New England Patriots, are thinking similarly.

A fifth-round draft choice for a Super Bowl MVP, coming off a season in which he caught 79 passes for 1,248 yards, looked like grand theft. Any team that needed help at wide receiver surely could've bid higher than the 151st overall selection.

On Monday morning, however, we learned why Holmes was such a bargain. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the NFL has finalized a four-game suspension for Holmes for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Teams obviously had that information at their disposal when determining whether Holmes was worth the trouble.

The counterpoint is that Holmes will be available for the remaining 12 games and the playoffs -- if he doesn't get into more trouble. In a case that's still being investigated, Holmes was accused of throwing a glass into a woman's face last month at an Orlando, Fla., club.

Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the Pittsburgh Steelers were ready to cut Holmes if they couldn't trade him.

Dolfans upset over their team's inactivity since making a mammoth splash with inside linebacker Karlos Dansby are incredulous the front office wouldn't take a chance on Holmes. After all, the Dolphins re-signed free-agent nose tackle Jason Ferguson, who has been suspended eight games of the season.

But that's an unfair comparison. Ferguson's suspension was for performance-enhancing drugs, not substance abuse. I'm not saying this sentiment played into the Dolphins' thinking, but a segment of the football community justifies players who get busted for PEDs as guys trying to do whatever it takes to get an edge and help their teams; they were just sloppy and got caught.

But Holmes has a checkered past and almost proud history of marijuana use. He recently tweeted he was going to "wake and bake," a phrase that means to smoke marijuana upon rolling out of bed.

If a Holmes proposal crossed Miami football operation boss Bill Parcells' desk, then the club would've needed to weigh the fact Holmes is from Belle Glade, Fla. Prior to Super Bowl XLIII, he confessed he sold drugs on the streets in his youth.

Bringing Holmes back to South Florida wouldn't be the wisest move. We know he doesn't make sound decisions. He would have the ability to hang out at his old haunts any evening in the regular season. His old associates would have greater access to him.

Plus, Holmes is entering the final year of his contract. There are no guarantees where he'll play beyond this season, making a trade that much riskier.

With all of that in mind, Dolfans shouldn't be too upset.

While it's difficult to watch the Jets make so many dynamic moves -- and perhaps be on the verge of signing away Jason Taylor -- and the idea of Holmes in aqua and orange is inspirational, there are plenty of good reasons the Dolphins didn't make this deal.

Maybe the Jets gave up too much.

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