We've seen high-quality wideouts flying off the free agency market like hair gel at Tom Brady's barbershop. That being said there's one wideout that no one is talking about but many many many many Jets fans (myself included) want signed - Braylon Edwards.
I did a post a few months ago stating reasons to bring him back and leave him alone, and the commentary was strong. Now that FA is well underway and people within the Jets organization such as Antonio Cromartie and even Edwards himself are making the suggestion that he return, I think it's time we Revis-it (see what I did there) those arguments, with just a few adjustments.
Bring Him Here:
1. Established Chemistry with Mark Sanchez - valuable asset for the perpetually underperforming QB. Gives him a good safety net with that kind of trust.
2. Big Playmaking Ability - anyone can make a few plays now and then (that's partly why Josh Morgan and Pierre Garcon just got 7-digit contracts with the 'Skins). But some players have the athletic skills to make plays all the time. The overwhelming majority of Sanchez's passes of 40+ yards in his career have been to Braylon Edwards. And that's the facts. Think back to the 2010 games against the Texans and Dolphins. the playoffs against the Pats and Colts, the 2009 AFC Championship game with that huge TD catch in the first half (then erase your memory from the rest of the game), even the games against the Bills where he dominated those smaller DBs. We need big playmaker as badly as anything else on offense.
3. Actually a Team Player - he said repeatedly that he wanted to finish his career in New York. Never made a big deal out of problems with the game planning, and might even play better in the new system (after all, Brandon Marshall was still a very effective player in Miami with the same system). He never complained publicly about sharing plays with Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller, and asides from some lapses in judgment, kept out of serious trouble.
4. Great Run Blocker Downfield - remember the 2009 home game against the Bills? And the great block Edwards threw for Thomas Jones on one of his two 60+ yard runs? We need a downfield blocker yesterday.
5. Experience - Simply put, Edwards has been there and done that. In the regular season and post-season. He knows the coaches, knows the players, and has mentoring potential for the young WR corp if he gets his act together.
Leave Him Alone:
1. Drops Balls - the Buffalo game where the ball literally bounced off his facemask instead of being a 80-yard TD was painful to watch (especially in the blooper reels). That's one of the several WR fundamentals that Edwards displays a lacking of.
2. Immaturity - That's the best word to describe some of the behavior. The drinking and driving, the fights, the restaurant incidents. None of these will ever get Edwards a street named after him in New York City or high-praise in the Jets front office, probably no matter how hard he plays.
3. Might Not Want to Come Back - I am of the opinion that the Jets were actually the mysterious team Edwards claimed was looking into him at the time of the restaurant incident. My crazy opinions aside, perhaps the Jets wore out their welcome in Edwards' eyes when they adamantly refused to give him anything long term. He later found that no one else would either, but that may be besides the point. He might not want to go back to the Jets.
3a. Can he still co-exist with Santonio Holmes? - Here's another crazy thought: would he want to play alongside Santonio Holmes? The same man the Jets F.O. compared Edwards to and determined was better than him? The same man who very often is simply a better all-around WR than him? They were a great team in 2010, but is Edwards really the kind of player that can share the spotlight, or even shine less brightly in the spotlight? Does Edwards know if he is...?
4. Injury Concerns - Edwards was healthy as a horse in New York. Yet for some reason, as soon as he went to the 49ers he started accumulating injuries left and right. The surgery he claims he got will probably not help him get a big deal with any team, much less the Jets. He will play for a team in 2012, but the days where Edwards was entitled to playing time are probably long gone.
5. Drop in Production Concerns - Not a very fair criteria considering who his QB was, and the Jets have given deals to players with limited (Mason) or no production from the prior year (Burress). However, we don't know what's in the heads of the Jets F.O. when evaluating talent, so they may interpret Edwards' bad year differently.
I will conclude by saying I remain completely in favor of signing Edwards. I thought it was stupid to release him after so much production in the regular season and playoffs, and being such a key part of Sanchez's growth from his rookie season.
I do recognize that Edwards is 2012 will in all likelihood be very different from the Edwards of 2009 and 2010. However, I believe that Braylon Edwards at 75% of what he once was is far better than Patrick Turner as he is now.
I want to have him signed, I hope we have him signed, and but I am sadly not optimistic that we will have him signed well before the 2012 season.
Leave a comment below if you agree, disagree, wanna show Edwards some lovin', or just rip on the guy.