On paper, two great moves
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Santonio Holmes should be an NFL star. He's only 26 years old and coming off a 1,248 yard receiving season. He was named Super Bowl MVP in February 2009, and should be the pride of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Instead he was just traded to the Jets for a lowly 5th round pick amidst a long history off-field troubles and a recent four-game suspension.
Antonio Cromartie, who turns 26 this April, has already been named once to the Pro Bowl and as an All-Pro, first team. While anyone who watched him try to tackle RB Shonn Greene in the 2009 playoffs can tell you he's not a complete player, his skills as a cover corner are generally considered excellent. The NFL is a passing league and any team without good cornerbacks is not likely to make the playoffs, so he should be a coveted player. Instead the Chargers traded him to the Jets for a late 3rd round pick in part because of his poor playoff performance and part because of his off-field legal battles involving multiple paternity suits.
While the 2010 NFL draft is considered to be a good one, it's unlikely that either the Steelers or Chargers will find players as good as Holmes and Cromartie with either a 5th or a 3rd round pick. If you look at what these two players can do on the field, then the Jets made two exceptional trades. But the well worn phrase caveat emptor ("let the buyer beware") may never have been truer in both of these cases.
These are not safe moves for their team's chemistry. If more teams were not concerned about their players' personalities and the negative effect some troubled players can have in the locker room, then there would have been more teams bidding on these two young starters. Maybe both players needed a change of scenery and the Jets will be the beneficiaries. It's impossible to know whether these players will bring their troubles with them.
For the Jets, these are not luxury moves. They needed a cornerback that would make the opposing offense pause before designing a game plan around avoiding CB Darrelle Revis at all cost. They had only two wide receivers who caught over 14 passes last season and needed to provide a better third option than David Clowney. Despite the potential troubles that these two players bring to their team, I'm intrigued with how they make the Jets look on paper. While I'm concerned about their team's chemistry, Holmes and Cromartie certainly made the Jets a better on-field team and I'm looking forward to watching them in 2010.
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