Braylon Edwards: Stay or Go?

Al Bello

Of all of the things the Jets did to get themselves made fun of 2012, bringing in Braylon Edwards a week after he publicly bashed the team on Twitter was certainly one of them. The Jets brought the wide receiver who played with them in 2009 and 2010 back into the mix hoping to catch lightning in a bottle. It did not pan out.

I have heard people say Braylon was effective in his short stint with the Jets. I have looked and looked, but I cannot find where the beef is to back this up. Consider this.

Edwards caught a pass on 9.6% of routes he ran with the Jets in 2012. He averaged 1.18 yards per route.

Chaz Schilens caught a pass on 11.0% of routes he ran with the Jets in 2012. He averaged 1.14 yards per route.

Clyde Gates caught a pass on 9.8% of routes he ran with the Jets in 2012. He averaged 1.38 yards per route.

It isn't like you can say Braylon's presence made the offense better. The Jets averaged about 35 yards and 7 points less with him than they did without him. I'm not saying Edwards was responsible for the drop in productivity. I am saying, however, that it's tough to see how he made the offense better. The Jets were sending out receivers that put up very pedestrian numbers, and Braylon was roughly as productive.

If you watch him with the Jets in 2012 or before his return, you will see a wideout whose speed seems to be gone. His knee issues seem to prevent him from getting any kind of separation.

He is just not a top three receiver at this point in his career. He is a guy on the downside. That is not the kind of player you want at the bottom of your depth chart. Having him around will take a roster spot and practice reps away from a younger player who has potential for the future and can help on special teams. You can easily find somebody better than this current incarnation of Braylon in the late rounds of the Draft. The Jets found somebody better two years ago in the fifth round.

He isn't really the kind of guy you want hanging around a young receiver like Stephen Hill either. Braylon has a long record of being a knucklehead off the field, in the locker room, and on the field.

Right now Braylon Edwards feels like a microcosm of the Jets during the Rex Ryan Era. He was imposing just like the team was in 2009 and 2010. Now some superficial similarities remain on the surface, but both are pretty punchless on the field. When the Jets made the move to grab him, it felt to me like they were trying to grab onto their past glory. It is in the past, however, just like Braylon's productivity. With his speed depleted and with 1 touchdown and less than 35 catches and 400 yards in the past two years, Braylon has become Patrick Turner with a better resume.

There were some great memories in 2009 and 2010, but those are memories, just like the Jets' deep Playoff runs. It's time to move on. The Jets should focus on stocking their roster with young players who have upside, not old players clinging to a spot in the league.

Braylon Edwards' fate might be an early indication of the John Idzik-Rex Ryan dynamic. Idzik's Seahawks gave Braylon a shot last year before determining he was not going to help them. Rex reportedly has a bond with Braylon. Will Rex get to keep a favored veteran, or will Idzik assert his authority? We will find out, but for all of his fanfare, I have a tough time figuring a reason Braylon Edwards should be a Jet in 2013.

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