COMMENTARY | For the better part of four months, football fans in America withstood a nightmarish NFL lockout that threatened the 2011-12 season. Now that the owners and players have finally come to an agreement, the floodgates have opened for pro football trades and signings.
Perhaps the biggest winner of the free agent frenzy thus far is the New York Jets; they locked Santonio Holmes into a five-year contract worth approximately $50 million. According to Reuters, the contract includes $24 million in guaranteed money.
Holmes, one of the best wide receivers in the game, reportedly left money on the table to stay with coach Rex Ryan, quarterback Mark Sanchez, and the rest of the New York Jets because of their winning values.
The deal was great for the Jets because Holmes is just 27 years old and has plenty of gas left in the tank. He’s still in his prime and his body should hold up fine for the full length of the contract. His signing undoubtedly puts the Jets in excellent position to taste their first Super Bowl victory since the 1968-69 season.
Holmes is a game-changer and has a natural ability to gain yards after making a catch. Obviously, the only drawback to the signing is the potential for Holmes’ on- and off-the-field disciplinary issues that have plagued him throughout his career. However, he has matured as a Jet and seems to have turned a corner in his professional career.
Holmes has several marks on his rap sheet, but his talent outweighs the risk of bad behavior. Besides quarterback Sanchez, the Jets have several players who can be positive influences and take Holmes under their wing. Jets backup quarterback Mark Brunell and running back LaDainian Tomlinson are two players with great character who can help make sure that Holmes stays out of trouble.
Last year, Holmes averaged 62.2 yards per game and had six touchdown receptions. He notched 52 catches for 746 yards last season, and returns to the field in 2011-12 with a wealth of experience that includes winning a Super Bowl MVP award with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008. Holmes is a proven winner and with that kind of offensive production, the new contract was a no-brainer for the Jets.
For Holmes, the contract is a shot at redemption. He can prove to the football world that he deserved a second chance in the league. As for the Jets, the deal means Sanchez will have an elite wide receiver as a target for his passes for years to come.
http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/stats/_/id/9611/santonio-holmes , ESPN Player Statistics
http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/07/27/santonio-holmes-will-return-to-the-jets-on-a-five-year-deal/, MSNBC Sports