- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who has pocketed nearly $15 million the last two seasons despite only 38 catches, said Wednesday he'd be willing to take a pay cut to remain with the team.
"Anything for the team," Holmes said.
His team-first comment is likely to cause eye rolls within the organization. Only a week ago, Holmes made himself the focal point by insulting the Carolina Panthers' secondary. The bulletin-board comments backfired, making Holmes look bad in a 30-20 loss.
Holmes' sudden generosity probably won't matter because the Jets are expected to release the mercurial receiver after the season. Holmes has two years and $17.5 million remaining on the contract he signed in 2011, and there's no chance the Jets will pay that much for an injury-prone player with a questionable attitude.
Holmes has missed 17 of the last 30 games due to foot and hamstring injuries. He took a $3.5 million pay cut last offseason, cutting his 2013 salary to $7.5 million -- the remaining guarantee from the five-year, $45 million deal he signed in 2011.
The former Super Bowl MVP hinted that he'd be OK with another significant salary cut. Asked if his willingness to take a cut would depend on the amount of the reduction, he replied, "Probably not."
Holmes, slowed by injuries, hasn't given the Jets much bang for the buck. He was an integral part of their playoff run in 2010, but hasn't lived up to his contract.
"I wouldn't agree [with a pay cut] because you can't do anything about injuries and how they occur -- this is the first time I've been injured in my career -- but like I said, sacrifices have to be made," he said.
Holmes missed the entire offseason while recovering from a serious Lisfrancinjury. He started the first four games, but suffered a hamstring tear that caused him to miss five games.
He's the seventh leading receiver on the team, with 18 catches for 395 yards and a touchdown. Despite his modest numbers, Holmes called out the Panthers' defensive backs, saying they're "the weakest link" on their defense.
He failed to back up his claim, dropping an easy pass and finishing with only two receptions for 14 yards. The Panthers were in his face from the outset, vowing payback. Holmes said he didn't regret the comment even though some teammates said it fueled the Panthers' defense.
The loss left the Jets (6-8) on the verge of elimination, which occurred Monday night when the Baltimore Ravens defeated the Detroit Lions. Incredibly, Holmes said he didn't find out the Jets had been mathematically eliminated until Wednesday morning in a team meeting.
He said he had no reaction to the news. Holmes, who has clashed with teammates in the past, said he likes playing for the Jets and coach Rex Ryan, whose job security is a hot issue.
"I'd love to play for him the next couple of years, and even retire here, he and I both," Holmes said.
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