NFL Nation: 041110 Santonio Holmes

Jets GM: 'Santonio is one of ours'

April, 12, 2010
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Santonio HolmesBill Amatucci, Jr./Getty Images"I don't think I need to dig myself out of any hole," Santonio Holmes said. "These guys are opening their arms to me right now. All I have to do is walk into them."
The New York Jets insist they know what they're getting into with Santonio Holmes.

"We understand that there's risk, significant risk," Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said on a conference call Monday to discuss the trade that sent a fifth-round draft choice to the Pittsburgh Steelers for the wayward receiver.

"We're moving forward together. Santonio is one of ours. Now it's up to us to make it work."

Within hours of the trade, the NFL suspended Holmes the first four games of the season for repeated violations of its substance-abuse policy.

That's why the Jets needed to give up such a trivial asset to obtain a player who last year amassed 79 receptions and 1,248 yards.

"A guy with his production at 26 years old, he would not have been available if these indiscretions didn't happen and, obviously, the suspension," Tannenbaum said. "But with that said, he just felt like with what we had to give up, the risk and the price was reasonable for us."

[+] EnlargeRex Ryan
Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PresswireRex Ryan's ability to relate to players may be needed more than ever this season.
Holmes used the word "accountable" in about every fifth sentence during his conference call. The Steelers were forced to dump him after a series of transgressions.

"The same mistakes won't be accepted around here," Holmes said.

Marijuana has been a major presence in his life. In addition to the NFL's positive drug tests, he was charged with possession in 2008.

Holmes was involved in a domestic violence incident in 2006. He was accused last month of throwing a glass at a woman, cutting her above the eye at a club in Orlando, Fla. An investigation is ongoing. A witness accepted responsibility, but a lawsuit against Holmes is pending.

Holmes admitted he must earn the Jets' trust in the locker room.

"I definitely have to be accountable for my actions now," Holmes said. "I need to get a hold of all the players, spend some time with these guys, show them what type of work ethic that I have, always on time to the meetings, front and center, establishing a great relationship with all the players on and off the field so those guys can understand who I am and where I came from.

"I don't think I need to dig myself out of any hole. These guys are opening their arms to me right now. All I have to do is walk into them."

The Jets have taken chances on three prominent players with notorious reputations: receiver Braylon Edwards, cornerback Antonio Cromartie and now Holmes.

They all possess incandescent skills and can help the Jets win a Super Bowl, but their personalities can be subversive if not properly managed.

They've also lost some high-character players from their locker room, letting running back Thomas Jones and kicker Jay Feely depart as free agents.

Will the volatility be too much for second-year head coach Rex Ryan to manage?

Tannenbaum sounded confident in Ryan's ability to get the most out of his players. Veterans such as running back LaDainian Tomlinson, fullback Tony Richardson, linebacker Bart Scott and cornerback Darrelle Revis will play a stabilizing role in the locker room.

"When you look at Rex's ability to relate to people and connect with players, he's really outstanding at that," Tannenbaum said. "He's done that his whole life, his whole career. He has a very unique ability to connect to a lot of different types of people.

"He loves working with different types of people. He believes giving people second chances, and he's energized by those challenges."

Scouts Inc.: Jets keep getting better

April, 12, 2010
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Santonio HolmesMatt Cashore/US PresswireAdding a wide receiver like Santonio Holmes makes an already strong offensive team like the Jets even more dangerous.
Even considering that Santonio Holmes is in line for a four-game suspension and his troubling off-the-field history, the Jets became a much better team with the acquisition of Holmes, especially if it only cost them a fifth-round pick. But let’s just focus on what Holmes does for New York on the field -- and that is substantial.

Generally speaking, I have a problem with how often the phrase “No. 1 receiver” is tossed around in the NFL. To me, I see about a dozen wideouts or so who truly fit this mold and several others who have the potential to reach such status. The Jets now have two wide receivers who are capable of reaching that status in Holmes and Braylon Edwards.

I like Holmes’ chances much better of being a No. 1 guy because he is far more consistent than Edwards, who has had trouble with drops. Incorporating these two together along with the ever-reliable Jerricho Cotchery gives the Jets a terrific wideout corps. Along with tight end Dustin Keller and running back Leon Washington -- two very good receiving threats for their respective positions -- this is a tremendous addition for second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez. So many teams do not supply their young franchise signal-callers with the receivers to allow them to succeed.

Holmes (5-11, 192 pounds) isn’t the biggest wideout, but he plays bigger than his frame would suggest -- both in his ability to go up and get the ball in the air and as a blocker. He can abuse coverage at all levels and continues to improve as a route runner. Holmes has very good body control and is dangerous after the catch. Despite his off-the-field reputation, he works very hard on his craft and is very competitive. He should only get better.

I do not expect Holmes' receiving numbers (79 catches, 1,248 yards in '09) to improve in 2010 because the Jets should remain a run-first team. Holmes was exceptional at getting deep and making big plays when Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger extended plays by buying time in the pocket and heaving the ball deep downfield, which he does so well. Those type of plays probably will not occur nearly as often in New York, but any way you cut it from strictly a football perspective, the Jets are vastly improved because of this trade.

The Jets have the best running game in the league. With this ground threat, either Holmes or Edwards should almost always receive single coverage in one form or another on early downs. That also opens up fantastic play-action possibilities for these two deep threats.

Take a step back and look at what the Jets’ roster looked like after the 2008 season. The moves they have made since that time with trades, the draft and free agency have been simply outstanding. It started with free-agent acquisitions Calvin Pace and Alan Faneca and has picked up steam since Rex Ryan became the head coach. This is just one more example of why the Jets have become one of the very best teams in the NFL, and now they are set up exceptionally well to add more defensive toys for Ryan in the draft.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.

Video: Wild day for Clark, Steelers

April, 12, 2010
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Steelers safety Ryan Clark reacts to the Santonio Holmes and Ben Roethlisberger news.

Scouts Inc. on Steelers WRs

April, 12, 2010
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The Pittsburgh Steelers sent shockwaves throughout the AFC by trading former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets for a fifth-round pick.

Holmes was in Pittsburgh's doghouse after various off-the-field incidents, so much so that Steelers assisted another AFC contender.

So where does this leave Pittsburgh's receiver corps? The AFC North blog checked in with Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson for answers.

[+] EnlargeWallace/Ward
AP Photo/Gene PuskarWith Santonio Holmes out of the picture, Hines Ward (86) and Mike Wallace (17) look to be the top two receivers in Pittsburgh.
For starters, what did Pittsburgh's offense lose when it traded Holmes?

Williamson: They lose a potentially great player -- I don't know how else you can say it. He was especially great when Ben Roethlisberger was buying time and extending the play. Holmes would get you deep and Ben would find him often, and I think Roethlisberger trusted him. Holmes was effective off play-action, and I don't see a massive weakness with him. He had to share a lot of catches with [Hines] Ward, and earlier in his career Pittsburgh was a run-heavy team. So his numbers aren't quite where you think they would be. I don't know if that will ever be the case with the Jets, either, but that doesn't mean Holmes isn't incredibly effective.

Where do you feel Mike Wallace is in his development, and is he ready to be a starter in Year 2?

Williamson: I think Wallace is very ready to be a starter. He's only getting better and his ability to take the top off a defense [get deep] is tremendous. He's very fast and he plays very fast. Wallace is going to abuse single coverage, and I do like him as a starter.

Hines Ward isn't getting any younger. Can Pittsburgh still be successful with Ward, 34, as the team's No. 1 receiver?

Williamson: I worry more about Ward now. If I'm defending the Steelers last year, I'm more afraid of Holmes than Ward. The thing is Ward is still playing very well, but he's only going to get slower. He's never been the fastest guy around. So when coverage is rolled in his direction or Ward's facing the No. 1 corner on the opposing team, is he able to be as productive? I don't know that he is, so that worries me.

How do you evaluate the Steelers' depth at WR with backups Antwaan Randle El, Arnaz Battle and Limas Sweed?

Williamson: I think the Steelers really need to add a guy. They need a big body. They have Sweed. But I don't think they can trust him at all, although it would be great if he could live up to that second-round billing and plays like he did at Texas with more of an opportunity now. Randle El could be a competent slot guy. I wouldn't want him starting, and I think Battle might be a No. 4. He could play some and get his jersey dirty on special teams, but the Steelers don't want him out there an awful lot.

Any good options in the draft?

Williamson: They have a ton of picks (11), and they can't get that many guys on the roster. They're going to really be primed to move up once or twice in this draft. I don't think the Steelers can use a first-round pick on a receiver. But there are some receivers out there who are interesting. A guy like Eric Decker comes to mind from Minnesota in the second or third round. But it would also be nice for them to use a second- or third-round pick right now on a running back or a guard or a cornerback.

Podcast: How Holmes trade affects the draft

April, 12, 2010
4/12/10
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ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter breaks down the Santonio Holmes trade from the Steelers to the Jets. Schefter says this changes the outlook of the draft a bit now that the Jets don't need to look for a WR and the Steelers are in the market for one.

Passing on Holmes not egregious error

April, 12, 2010
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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.
A high-profile wide receiver is on the move. But Brandon Marshall remains a Denver Bronco.

Marshall
Marshall
Pittsburgh sent receiver Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets late Sunday night for a reported fifth-round pick.

The Holmes trade could have an impact on Marshall, who is a restricted free agent, and his potential trade from Denver.

Marshall’s trade worth: The Broncos can’t be thrilled that Holmes was dealt for a fifth-round pick. Denver wants a first-round pick for Marshall. So far, no team has been willing to give up a top pick for Marshall and time is running out.

Marshall is a better player than Holmes, but there are comparisons. Both players entered the league in 2006. Both players turned 26 in March. Both have been beset by legal issues.

Marshall has 101 catches for 1,120 yards last season. Holmes had 79 catches for 1,248 yards. In four seasons, Marshall has 327 catches for 4,019 yards. In the same time span, Holmes has 235 catches for 3,835 yards.

Teams that may be willing to trade for Marshall could easily point to Holmes’ low price tag in discussions.

The Jets are likely out: It was reported that the Jets could show interest in Marshall. The addition of Holmes very likely ends any speculation of Marshall heading to the Jets.

Are the Steelers in? Like Holmes, Marshall has faced off-the-field trouble and the Steelers aren’t exactly eager to add players who have had recent issues. But there is a hole in Pittsburgh’s receiving core. Perhaps the Steelers will show some interest.

The Marshall saga has been intriguing for months. The Holmes deal added to the drama.
Here is more clarity on the Santonio Holmes trade: A pending four-game suspension factored into the decision for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

ProFootballTalk.com recently reported Holmes violated the NFL's substance abuse policy, and ESPN's Adam Schefter also confirmed the report Monday. With Holmes only able to contribute a maximum of 12 games next season, the Steelers settled for a fifth-round pick from the New York Jets.

The upcoming suspension would have been another blemish for the Steelers in what's already been a poor offseason for off-the-field conduct. Now the Jets have to deal with Holmes' pending suspension, albeit at a very cheap price.

Holmes is in the final year of his contract, and after a rash of incidents it was clear the Steelers were not going to re-sign him to a long-term extension.

So much Jets change has been in the air

April, 12, 2010
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In the span of six measly months, the New York Jets' top three receivers went from this:

Edwards
Holmes
1. Jerricho Cotchery

2. Chansi Stuckey

3. David Clowney

To this:

1a. Braylon Edwards

1b. Santonio Holmes

3. Cotchery

What an upgrade. The Jets continued their metamorphosis Sunday night, sending a fifth-round draft choice to the Pittsburgh Steelers for Holmes.

In a short time, the Jets went from wondering how their passing game would cope without Laveranues Coles to boasting a crew that features three 1,100-yard receivers.

Go back a year and the Jets' passing game was even more dubious. Brett Favre was gone. Some believed Brett Ratliff had a shot at the job.

Among the receivers, Cotchery had with the highest pedigree. He was a fourth-round draft pick. Stuckey was a seventh-rounder. Clowney was a waiver-wire pickup.

Now the Jets have a pair of first-rounders with some hardware. Edwards, the third overall selection in 2005, is a Pro Bowler. Holmes, the 25th pick in 2006, was the MVP of Super Bowl XLIII.

Cotchery is the oldest of the three. He'll turn 28 in June.

Think second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez might be excited about throwing a little more this year?

Sanchez also has tight end Dustin Keller, another first-rounder. The backfield options are LaDainian Tomlinson and Leon Washington, two fellows who can catch.

The Jets had the NFL's top rushing attack last year. Their 37.9 carries per game were 5.1 attempts more than the second team and about 10 more than the league average.

At the league owners meetings last month in Orlando, Fla., Jets coach Rex Ryan said, "We might not run it as much as we did last year, but we’ll be pretty close."

When you consider the talent the Jets continue to assemble, that's getting increasingly harder to believe.

Holmes will face Steelers in 2010

April, 12, 2010
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How much did the Pittsburgh Steelers want to get rid of Santonio Holmes?

Not only did the Steelers trade their starting receiver within the AFC, but they also shipped him to a team Pittsburgh will face in 2010.

Holmes and the New York Jets will travel to Heinz Field to play the Steelers this upcoming season. The date of that game likely will be announced by the league within the next week.

Pittsburgh's trade of Holmes for just a fifth-round pick sent a message that the Steelers are trying to restore their public image. Holmes and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger have kept the team in the news this offseason for all of the wrong reasons, and the Steelers made a choice between two of their best players.

But expect Holmes to be highly motivated to face his former team. That will be one of many interesting storylines for Pittsburgh this season.

Holmes trade sends league atwitter

April, 12, 2010
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A collection of tweets in response to Sunday night's big trade that sent receiver Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets for a fifth-round pick ...

[+] EnlargeSantonio Holmes
Matt Cashore/US PresswirePittsburgh's trade of former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes to the Jets has the league talking.
Donte Whitner, Buffalo Bills safety:
"Santonio Holmes traded to the JETS. Wow."

Darius Butler, New England Patriots cornerback:
"Wowwww a 5th round pick! I know this supposef to be a deep draft but damn Pitt."
"Im not concerned abt him bein n the division. Every team we play has gd players its the NFL. Im just shocked at what he went for."

Marcellus Wiley, ESPN analyst:

"The Jets are starting to look like an All-Madden Team....especially if they get Jason Taylor and T.O.!!!"

Darrelle Revis, Jets cornerback:

"Wow we got holmes this is crazy. We makin big moves this off-season. Putting the pieces together to get closer to that superbowl ring."

Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati Bengals receiver:

"Mr. Goodell the NY Jets are unfairly loading their team up with great players like the Yankees do, we need to stop this now!"

Bob Glauber, Newsday columnist:

"If Santonio Holmes puts it together with the Jets, the trade will go down as one of the biggest steals ever. 5th rounder? Sheesh."

David Clowney, Jets receiver:

"Lord what am I doing wrong"
"I know this is a test,.. But God never puts you thru anything you can't handle. I trust you Lord"
[+] EnlargeMike Wallace
Jared Wickerham/Getty ImagesSecond-year receiver Mike Wallace will likely step into a starting role alongside Hines Ward.
The Pittsburgh Steelers' trade for Santonio Holmes means the team has a lot of confidence in second-year receiver Mike Wallace.

And why not?

Wallace took advantage of every opportunity last season as a rookie, recording 39 receptions for 756 yards and six touchdowns. He added deep speed and reliable hands to Pittsburgh's offense as the No. 3 receiver, and Wallace could be an early fantasy sleeper for 2010 now that he's projected in the starting lineup.

Although the Steelers didn't get much in return for Holmes -- only a fifth-round pick -- they do have depth at the position. Wallace will step into Holmes' starting slot alongside Hines Ward, while the recently signed Antwaan Randle El likely will be the team's third receiver. Arnaz Battle and former 2008 second-round pick Limas Sweed are among the backups.

Not coincidentally, the Steelers are looking at receivers in this year's NFL draft. Receivers Golden Tate and Arrelious Benn were among the prospects to visit Pittsburgh last week.

Ochocinco begs NFL to stop the Jets

April, 12, 2010
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How heavy-handed are the New York Jets coming off around the league for all of their high-profile acquisitions?

Ochocinco
Ochocinco
At least one star player is begging the league to intervene and stop the madness.

Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco should be thrilled to see a division rival lose a dangerous player, but he's looking at the big picture after the Jets sent a fifth-round draft choice to the Pittsburgh Steelers for receiver Santonio Holmes.

Ochocinco's immediate response was to tweet "Can someone please explain why the Pittsburgh Steelers traded Santonio Holmes to the Jets?"

A few minutes later, the NFL's court jester sent this tweet to @nflcommish, the official Twitter account of Roger Goodell:

"Mr. Goodell the NY Jets are unfairly loading their team up with great players like the Yankees do, we need to stop this now!"

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum is having an obnoxiously productive offseason.

The Jets traded for cornerback Antonio Cromartie and signed running back LaDainian Tomlinson. They Jets are courting pass-rusher Jason Taylor, who might make up his mind about the Jets this week and probably got a little more interested after the Holmes trade.

Remember when Jets fans were concerned the "final eight" plan might curb their offseason options?
The Pittsburgh Steelers have earned more negative press than any NFL team in recent weeks, and that didn't sit well with ownership or the team's front office.

[+] EnlargeSantonio Holmes
Jason Bridge/US PresswireSantonio Holmes caught 79 passes for 1,248 yards and five touchdowns last season, but had off-the-field incidents.
Therefore, it was a matter of time before someone took the fall, and that player turned out to be receiver Santonio Holmes.

The Steelers traded the former Super Bowl MVP to the New York Jets for a fifth-round pick, according to ESPN.com's John Clayton. Yes, the Jets fleeced the Steelers by giving up a late-round pick for a very good receiver. But it's clear this move had more to do with off-the-field behavior than on-the-field performance for Pittsburgh.

Holmes was on track to become Pittsburgh's No. 1 receiver before recent incidents put him in the doghouse with the Steelers' brass. He was suspended by the team during the 2008 season for being caught with marijuana in his vehicle. Holmes also admitted to selling drugs as a youth before Super Bowl XLIII, in addition to facing recent allegations from a woman who claimed a drink was thrown at her.

Add in the recent legal troubles with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and the Steelers felt something had to be done to begin restoring their public image.

In the end, it's much easier for Pittsburgh to trade a receiver than a $100 million franchise quarterback.

Jets acquire Santonio Holmes

April, 11, 2010
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The New York Jets just don't know when to quit.

Holmes
Holmes
As if two of the splashiest offseason acquisitions weren't enough, they've picked up a Super Bowl MVP.

The Jets sent a fifth-round draft pick in this month's draft to the Pittsburgh Steelers for wide receiver Santonio Holmes late Sunday night, according to a league source.

The Jets shored up another position of need prior to the draft. They previously traded for former All-Pro cornerback Antonio Cromartie and signed free-agent running back LaDainian Tomlinson. They're also trying to sign free-agent pass-rusher Jason Taylor, a former NFL defensive player of the year.

Holmes made the highlight-reel touchdown reception in the final moments of Super Bowl XLIII to win the game for Pittsburgh. He followed that up last season with 79 catches for 1,248 yards and five touchdowns.

The Jets had the NFL's top rushing attack last year. Now second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez has a receiving corps in which Jerricho Cotchery is the third option. Not too shabby.

But he had a checkered stay in Pittsburgh. He has tested positive for marijuana, was involved in a 2008 domestic violence incident and was accused of throwing a glass at a woman at a club in Orlando, Fla., last month.

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