Over the next few weeks, we're going to take a look at some of the players whose future with the Jets is up in the air for any number of reasons. Right at the top of the list is Braylon Edwards. As we know, the Jets landed him in October looking to the receiving corp. The Jets were getting next to nothing out of everybody not named Jerricho Cotchery.
Edwards had so outworn his welcome in Cleveland that the Browns were willing to take next to nothing to get rid of him, a couple of midround Draft picks, a slot receiver, and a backup caliber linebacker. What is even more amazing is an overwhelming majority of Browns fans applauded that move even though Braylon had 16 touchdown receptions and 1,289 receiving yards two years ago. Off field legal issues, a contract dispute, a perceived bad attitude, and too many drops led Browns fans to turn on him. I can't really say I blame them. Braylon wasn't exactly a model citizen in Cleveland. Those fans expected more from a top five pick in the 2005 Draft.
The numbers don't look too striking with the Jets. He only had 35 catches, 541 yards, and 4 touchdowns in 12 games. Remember the context, though. Gang Green was playing with a mistake prone rookie quarterback and leaned heavily on the run game. These numbers don't account for the way he drew attention as a big play threat and opened things up for runners. Just look at the way he punished the Colts when a safety blew his assignment and left Edwards one on one. As Mark Sanchez matures and the passing game becomes a bigger part of the offense, number 17 will command more attention as a big play threat. They also don't account for his blocking. I'll give him a lot of credit for that. I don't usually see receivers giving the effort as a blocker Braylon did.
We know the biggest issue with the guy. He drops too many passes. The ones against Buffalo and Cincinnati were easy touchdowns. He also doesn't catch a lot of balls in traffic you'd expect from a receiver who perceives himself as one of the game's best. Some of the bad drops showed his value as a big play threat. His route running speed, and athleticism make getting open deep look easy at times.
With that said, I say Braylon should stay. Some guys mature after a change of scenery. I think that's the case with him. After so much controversy in Cleveland, Edwards was really a model citizen after the trade and a positive force in the locker room. Just about everything out of his mouth was positive short of some overblown words after the AFC Championship Game. He acted like a man with a new lease on life. In many ways, that's what he was. Cleveland is like football Siberia.
If the year is uncapped, he will be a restricted free agent. The Jets can scare any other takers away with a first and third round tender. I don't see any team giving up two of its first three picks and giving a monster contract to a guy with those red flags from Cleveland. Given how much Braylon seems to enjoy being a Jet, Gang Green may be able to lock him up at a deal reasonable to both sides and avoid the kind of acrimonious negotiations that took place in Cleveland.
He's not going to be the best receiver available, but he might be the best option relative to price. Despite his past, he's also much less of a character risk than a guy like say Brandon Marshall.
I vote stay.
What do you think?