Jets give receiver new ‘Holme’

Late Sunday night, the Jets made headlines around the country by acquiring former Super Bowl MVP receiver Santonio Holmes from the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The price was right for the supremely talented but troubled receiver, as Pittsburgh commanded only a future fifth-round draft pick in return.

The blockbuster move,which came seemingly out of left field, is one that elevates the Jets’ offense into the upper echelon of the NFL.  The 26-year-old Holmes gives New York the downfield speedster they sorely lacked in the receiving core.   The 5-foot-11 receiver also provides the Jets with game-breaking ability the team hasn’t seen since the departure of Santana Moss after the ’04 season.   Holmes has had a knack for making the big play throughout his four-year career, averaging 16.7 YPC, which is seventh-best in the NFL, since ’06.

“We’re excited to have Santonio,” said Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum, Monday.  “We think he’s a dynamic play-maker…We felt that here’s an opportunity to get a 26-year-old receiver who is a dynamic play-maker that has obviously had some indiscretions.  It was something that the pros outweighed the cons.  Again, there were some negatives, but at the end of the day, we felt good enough to pull the trigger.”

The addition of Holmes also figures to aid the progression of Mark Sanchez, giving the young quarterback another legitimate weapon in the passing game.

“It’s just a huge addition for our offense,” said Sanchez, Thursday.  “He’s an explosive player (and) a guy who catches the ball five yards and takes it 90.  He’s a special talent that way.  He’s shown he can play big in very important games, obviously in the Super Bowl as the MVP.  He really is a great talent, so it’s going to be fun to work with him.”

Holmes, who admitted that he was “very shocked” by the trade, believes that he could be the Jets’ missing piece to the Super Bowl puzzle. “I know for a fact that’s why they brought me here,” said Holmes, Monday.  “The opportunity presented itself for the Jets to acquire me and I’m definitely here for a reason.  My goal is, wherever I’m playing at, each season that I’m playing, is to try to win a championship.  With the opportunity that’s been presented to me, I’m willing to take it and step up to the (plate) and go forward.”

Only hours after being traded to New York, Holmes was informed that he would indeed be suspended for the first four games of the 2010 regular season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

Holmes conceded that perhaps a change of scenery may not be such a bad thing after-all and that it is time for the 26-year-old to show some accountability for his actions.   “I can’t predict the future, so I didn’t know what was going to happen with me up until this point and even as far as winning the Super Bowl MVP,” he said.  “Everything that happened, has happened for a reason.  (I’m) definitely being accountable for what happened.”

“Also, getting traded at the age of 26, that’s not a bad thing.  There have been plenty of guys before me who have been traded that started their career over with another team and have been very successful, such as Cris Carter.  It’s definitely not a bad thing to be traded at a young age.  It’s to give you an opportunity and a fresh start and to sit back and understand all of the mistakes that you’ve made and you’re willing to accept them and move forward.”

…And Miami responds

Maybe we shouldn’t hand the Jets that AFC East title just yet.   Only 48 hours after Gang Green’s trade for Santonio Holmes, their hated division rivals in South Florida made a big splash of their own.

Wednesday,the Dolphins landed Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall from the Denver Broncos, in exchange for second round draft picks in both 2010 and 2011.  Not long after, Miami agreed to a four-year extension with the 26-year-old receiver.  The record-breaking deal, worth $47.5 million, including $24 million in guaranteed money, makes Marshall the highest-paid receiver in league history.

The 6-foot-4, 230 pound Marshall gives Miami and young quarterback Chad Henne, a big-time receiver who will draw double-coverages and add another element to the “Wildcat” offensive attack.   Marshall is the complete package of supreme strength, great hands, and jaw-dropping athleticism, who imposes fear into the heart of every cornerback in the league.   Well, maybe not every corner.

The Dolphins’ acquisition of Marshall also guarantees a twice-a-year pay-per-view showdown between the league’s most imposing receiver and most dominant corner, Darrelle Revis.

Marshall, meeting with the Miami media for the first time on Thursday, offered his take on the showdown:

“As for Revis Island, I’m not sure where that is,” joked Marshall. “Where is Revis Island?…”Well, I just got married. Maybe we’ll honeymoon there.”

Revis is more than up to the challenge, according to Newsday‘s Bob Glauber.

Revis welcomes the challenge from his good friend.

“It’s another thing with a big-time receiver in the AFC East,” said Revis, who has known Marshall for about three years. “It’s good for Miami. They needed a big-time receiver, and I get to play him twice. That’s the good thing about it.”

No worries on Revis’ part. None whatsoever.

“Y’all know me,” he said. “I love competition. I love to compete, no matter who steps up, whoever comes to this conference, whoever leaves this conference. I’m that type of guy, and our team is that type of team. We don’t care what happens. We’ll make our offseason acquisitions, too. We see it and it’s like, ‘OK, we’ll see you on Sunday.’ ”

Love the attitude. Revis couldn’t care less who the opponent is, no matter how good. The better the player, the more Revis relishes the opportunity. The word scared is not in this man’s vocabulary.

Get your popcorn ready.
Leon returns…finally

In an offseason of big names and many new faces, the Jets made arguably their most important move on Thursday, officially bringing back an old face.

The team announced Thursday that  Leon Washington had finally agreed to sign his one-year tender, worth $1.75 million.  The move comes after a highly-publicized two-month standoff between Washington and the Jets in which the 27-year old running back did not report to the team’s facility for optional workouts, shopping his services to other teams around the NFL.

Leon Washington will back with Gang Green in '10. ( Photo)

Despite his brief hiatus from the team, Washington was all smiles Thursday, making it abundantly clear that he was happy to be back with Gang Green.

“It’s great to be back,” said Washington.  “Walking in today, I felt all the love like I’ve felt the past four years.”

Washington, who has totaled 1,782 rushing yards, 969 receiving yards and 15 offensive touchdowns in his four seasons in New York, opted to not sign a contract extension before the 2009 season.   After suffering a season-ending leg injury during a Week 7 win in Oakland, Washington’s future in New York became cloudy.

Unsure of how well Washington would bounce-back from surgery on his right leg, the team tendered the former Pro Bowler at a second-round level, back  in March.  The Jets’ signing of LaDainian Tomlinson weeks later sent the message that the team was ready to move on, with or without Washington.

Washington spent the past month in Pensacola, Florida, spending time with his family and training at Dr. James Andrews’ Advanced Performance Institute.  Three weeks ago, he began running in a straight line and will be reevaluated by the Jets’ medical staff next week.

“The whole time I was down there, I was wearing my Jets gear,” said Washington on Thursday.  “Every day and working out in my Jets gear and hoping I would be back here, whether I got a better offer and the Jets matched it or (if I) ended up signing my tender.  I ended up signing my tender, so it worked out best for me.”

While it remains to be seen whether Washington will be able to return to his pre-injury form, he is one of the team’s most dynamic offensive players.  Washington’s speed and two-way playmaking ability out of the backfield add an entire other dimension to the Jets’ offensive attack.  He is also a formidable threat in the return game.

“Being able to do so many different things,” said Washington.  “I believe I can help this team win football games.”  “That’s what it basically comes down to.  If you look at the moves the Jets have made this offseason, we’re trying to put ourselves in a situation where we want to be in the Super Bowl.  If I can do anything to help this team get there being healthy, I think it will be a tremendous fit for me and the team.”

With the trio of Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson and now Washington in the backfield, the Jets look to eclipse their league-best “Ground ‘n Pound” rushing attack in 2010.

Other odds and ends

  • Monday, the Jets announced a three-year agreement to hold training camp at SUNY Cortland, with the option to extend the deal to five years.
  • Backup quarterback Kellen Clemens is returning.  The fifth-year veteran signed his one-year tender offer on Tuesday.
  • Cornerback Drew Coleman signed his one-year tender on Wednesday.

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