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Santonio Holmes: 2013 and Beyond

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Al Bello

This year Santonio Holmes returned from a Lisfranc injury he suffered early in the 2012 season. He was active for the first week of the season after an offseason, training camp, and preseason of inactivity. Holmes' recovery was so slow that some people questioned whether he was dogging it. These questions grew louder when he suffered a hamstring injury Week 4 that kept him out of the next five games.

This struck me as odd. Holmes suffered a career-threatening injury in 2012. He needed to show he could stay healthy and be productive in 2013. If he did neither, the Jets were going to cut him, and he would not make much money in free agency. While the Jets might have cut him to escape his bloated contract anyway, Holmes still could use 2013 as an audition.

The result were not good. Holmes had 5 catches for 154 yards and the game-winning touchdown against the Bills Week 3. It was the only time all year he had more than 3 receptions in a game. He only had more than 55 receiving yards in a game one other time, and he never reached the end zone before or after.

The Jets clearly did not have the best quarterback play, but Holmes looks like he lost two steps. He seldom looked like the explosive player he used to be in his prime. Set to count $10.75 million against the cap, Holmes seems like an obvious cut. Cutting him means he only costs $2.5 million. That $8.25 million in savings is more valuable than Holmes. It can be used to find a much better receiver at a better and cheaper price. When the Jets signed Santonio, the money was always a bit of a stretch, but it turned into one of the worst contracts in the league.

I would not entertain the idea of bringing Holmes back cheaper. For the first time in three years, the Jets can afford to do better at the position. Holmes just cannot be counted on to be productive. There's just too much baggage here anyway. He might have a tough time finding a team that wants him given his current physical state and history of being a problem in the locker room and off the field. Tone might be heading for screap heap fill in status.

Despite making numerous clutch catches to win games, it seems like many Jets fans never took to Santonio. I thought a lot of the fanbase was looking for a reason to hate the guy, and Holmes provided that reason Week 17 of the 2011 season in Miami. There were certainly some nice moments, but the partnership between receiver and team never came close to reaching its potential. It is time for both sides to move on.