Last week was a bigger trade than this week in name, but the Santonio Holmes to New York deal is still something worth breaking down, as it has the potential to have a greater impact on a team that has a change to do some damage in the playoffs.
So Holmes and his substance abuse violation (and four-game suspension) leave Pittsburgh (who has enough issues itself lately with Roethlisberger) for the *ahem* greener pastures of the New York Jets. Although by the time he finally suits up, it might be the snow-covered pastures.
Anyway, here’s why I actually like this deal for both teams. First, Pittsburgh has to know something is up with their team. I know, that’s vague, but what I mean is that they’ve gone from champs to chumps to offseason headline-maker. They’re headed in the wrong direction and their personnel isn’t at the level of talent and youth to really be taken as a serious contender anymore. Forget about Big Ben’s issues for now. They still don’t have a really clutch, consistent RB. Hines Ward is a warrior, no doubt, but eventually he’ll have that Marvin Harrison season and you’ll just never hear from him again. Stronger offenses are poking more holes in the defense. So this this them a fifth round pick and an opportunity to try out some new blood at wide receiver while Ward is still there to mentor. And with Ben’s issues, the spotlight will largely be off any new starters for the beginning of the season.
In New York, this gives them a veteran, clutch, potentially-explosive receiver they can put in to complement LT2 and give Sanchez an “out” downfield when he gets in trouble. You hate to have to add “if healthy” as a disclaimer whenever writing about this team, but if they are, they can really do some damage. They have a solid defense, some depth at RB, a confident, growing quarterback and a coaching staff that knows how to make the most with what they have. I hope I’m not hyping these guys up too much, but if I had to guess now, I’d say betting them to get to the AFC Championship game is not out of the realm of possibility at all.