Braylon Edwards revitalized his NFL career after he was traded to the Jets during the 2009 season.
He had an immediate impact on the development of Mark Sanchez, giving the young quarterback a bonafide home run threat during his first two seasons in the league.
Edwards wore out his welcome in Cleveland and was a steal for the Jets during his two seasons in Green and White. He was known as a guy who was plagued by drops and a lack of focus, but evidently Rex Ryan was the cure.
In 2010, Braylon Edwards was one of the most sure-handed receivers in the league, with only 2 drops all season. Compare that to teammates Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller, who had 8 and 7 drops, respectively. For those wondering, New England’s Wes Welker led the NFL in drops this season with 13.
Edwards had one hiccup this year, when he was arrested for a DUI in September in Manhattan. Perhaps that will prevent him from getting a big money deal in free agency if teams are wary about committing to him long-term.
Among the Jets’ multitude of free agents, Edwards is not a top priority, although I’m sure the Jets would love to have him back.
Linebacker David Harris has been tagged as the Jets’ franchise player and will likely be signed to a long-term deal as soon as possible. After that, fellow wide receiver Santonio Holmes is probably more likely to return than Edwards. He is a former Super Bowl MVP and one of the clutchest players in the NFL.
So where does that leave Edwards? He may be the odd man out if the Jets are unable to re-sign both of their starting wide receivers. The Jets also have to deal with cornerback Antonio Cromartie and wide receiver/kick returner/Wildcat back Brad Smith hitting free agency.
Edwards has expressed deep gratitude to the Jets organization for helping him get his career back on track, and has made his feelings known on Twitter many times. He wants to be a Jet for life.
Does that mean he would take less money from the Jets and potentially turn down more money from another team to come back in 2011? That remains to be seen. If he’s willing to take a little less to be a part of something special in New York, I imagine the Jets will make room for him.
Until the new CBA is taken care of, everyone is playing the waiting game, of course.
The Jets cannot possibly expect all of their star free agents to take less money or a shorter deal to stay with the team, but it’s certainly not out of the question to see a couple of guys put their loyalty to Rex Ryan and company over a big pay day.
I believe that Edwards is a guy who is going to stay loyal to the Jets and stay here no matter what. The others guys are trickier to predict, but I’m pretty confident we wil see 17 in a Jets uniform for years to come.