It was not even ten days ago that the New York Jets lost their best player to a season-ending injury, as cornerback Darrelle Revis crumpled to the ground, clutching his left leg, after what was later diagnosed as a torn ACL.
After losing their most important playmaker, the Jets knew that it would be their much-maligned offense that would have to step up and carry their share of the load if the team had any aspirations of playing football after New Year’s.
However, the football gods evidently chortle at those aspirations, as just seven days after losing Revis for the year, there was wide receiver Santonio Holmes, crumpled to the ground, clutching his left leg, oh so similarly.
At first, it looked bad. Holmes, unlike Revis, was not even able to walk under his own power. Then, as if there was a glimmer of hope, word came that it was a foot injury for Holmes, and not an often-more-serious knee injury.
However, that glimmer of hope appears to be nothing more than fool’s gold, as many in the Jets organization believe that the injury is severe enough that Holmes will not be physically able to return to the field this season.
Just like that, twice in two weeks, the Jets lose an indispensable playmaker to a non-contact injury, and their struggling offense is now without any veteran experience at any of the skill positions.
The quarterbacks are young. The running backs, equally young. The receivers? The eldest statesman is now 26-year-old Chaz Schilens, he of the 78 career receptions in five NFL seasons.
Forget the postseason. The Jets will now struggle just to be relevant, their upcoming appearance on Monday Night Football aside.
The question now becomes, have we seen the last of Santonio Holmes in a Jets uniform?
The Jets shrewdly acquired Holmes in exchange for a 5th-round draft pick prior to the 2010 season, and Holmes showed the dynamic playmaking ability and flair for the dramatic that won him a Super Bowl MVP two years prior.
Holmes entered the free agent market following his first season in Green and White, and the Jets promptly re-signed him to a five-year, $45 million deal with $24 million guaranteed.
While it’s not all his fault, Holmes’ production has declined since then, and if he is indeed done for the year after injuring his foot last Sunday, it’s worth speculating whether or not we’ve seen the last of him in New York.
It will be admittedly difficult to move his bloated contract, which will pay him a base salary of $11 million in 2013 and carries a cap hit of $12.5 million.
But if the Jets end up cleaning house, it’s very possible that Holmes may be a casualty of such a revamp, fair or not.
Nobody knows exactly what the future holds for the Jets, but it wouldn’t surprise many if the Jets looked for any way possible to move on from the man they thought would lead a young receiving corps by example this season.
He’s a very talented player, but it’s no secret that there had already been friction between Holmes and some of his teammates and coaches. Being the best (and only?) playmaker on offense made it easier to tolerate him.
Now, though? If he’s unable to suit up and play, it’s going to be tough sledding for a Jets team that has already dealt with a mountain of adversity. I would like to see Holmes return, but I’m not so optimistic that will ever happen again.
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