It wasn’t all that long ago that wide receiver Braylon Edwards was an integral part of the New York Jets offense, and arguably the favorite target of young, up-and-coming quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Yet, for many reasons, that feels like an eternity ago.
The 29-year-old Edwards was a big-time playmaker with the Jets in 2009 and 2010, and ever since he and the team parted ways, it’s seemed as if he’s needed the Jets just as much as the Jets needed him.
The Jets offense has regressed to almost unwatchable levels, and to make matters worse, the injury bug has bitten New York’s receiving corps badly this season. Mark Sanchez has not played well, but it’s not all his doing.
When the Jets chose to let Edwards walk following the 2010 season, they re-signed Santonio Holmes to a five-year deal, and signed Plaxico Burress to a one-year deal in an attempt to replace Edwards’ physicality.
Burress was a good red zone threat, scoring eight touchdowns in 2011, but he couldn’t replace the athleticism and chemistry that Edwards provided in his two seasons in New York.
However, Edwards has not nearly been the receiver he used to be in his two seasons bouncing around the NFC West. Since the start of the 2011 season, he has just 23 total receptions for 255 yards and one touchdown.
Recently, Edwards got in hot water for tweeting about the Jets while still a member of the Seattle Seahawks. It was meant as a show of support for his friend Mark Sanchez, but it was also seen as critical of the Jets front office.
“Don’t blame Sanchez,” the tweet read. “I played there. Blame the idiots calling shots. Mark is a beast and will [prove] it when given a proper chance.”
That was the beginning of the end of Edwards’ stint in Seattle. They initially placed him on the waived/injured list due to a nagging knee injury that’s plagued him since leaving New York. Now, they’ve waived him outright.
The Jets waived reserve running back Kahlil Bell on Tuesday, fueling speculation that they may have put a claim on the same receiver who called them “idiots” just a week ago. Maybe that makes his statement truer than he knew.
Putting bygones aside, the Jets could use help anyway they can. They’ve lost Holmes for the season, and rookie Stephen Hill just went down with a knee injury. Fellow wideout Clyde Gates has missed time to a concussion.
Even their top two healthy receivers, Jeremy Kerley and Chaz Schilens, are each battling nagging leg injuries that they’ve been playing through for weeks. Starting tight end Dustin Keller has missed most of the season, too.
All of it adds up to a potential reunion between Braylon Edwards and the Jets, who despite all the chaos of their 2012 season, find themselves just one game out of a playoff spot with three weeks left to play.
While there may be 100 reasons not to bring Braylon back into the fold, the Jets have to be wondering what the alternative is. Their receiving corps has been decimated by injuries. Why not bring back Sanchez’s favorite target?
Yes, this smells like a desperation move. But the Jets are desperate. As long as they’re alive, they’ll keep fighting.
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