Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pros and Cons of Edwards Trade

Let's look at the pros and cons of today's big trade.

Pros
  • Edwards is the prototypical NFL receiver. He's 6'3", 215 with good speed and athletic ability, and at 26 years old, he should be entering his prime.
  • In 2007 Edwards had 80 catches for 1,289 yards, and a whopping 16 touchdowns, so he's been a star before.
  • He brings an entirely new element to the Jets' offense. He can be a deep threat that can be effective on the outside of the field. If teams need to use their safeties to help on Edwards rather than stopping the run or guarding Dustin Keller, it will be worth it.
  • Edwards is MUCH better than Chansi Stuckey or Brad Smith.
  • The Jets now have a dominant redzone threat. 16 touchdowns in 2007 shows that he can be a huge player in an area of the field which they need to improve in.
  • Mark Sanchez now has a true go-to-guy. He has the possession receiver in Jerricho Cotchery and now the threat opposite him in Edwards.
  • Sanchez, Cotchery, Washington, Keller, Shonn Greene, Nick Mangold, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, and now Edwards make a very good young offensive core.
  • The Jets' defense is good enough to win the Super Bowl. The offense? Not close. Edwards, however, brings the offense to a level where they can win a Super Bowl with him. The team will still be led by the defense, of course, but now the offense is not nearly as easy to defend, and it wasn't that bad before.
  • The value the Jets gave up really isn't that huge. Chansi Stuckey is the biggest name loss, but he struggled against New Orleans, and he's clearly best suited to be a slot receiver. Chansi would have been the ideal #3 behind Braylon and Jerricho, both in skillset and in interesting name.

    Jason Trusnik is a very good special teamer with some defensive ability who could surprise people in Cleveland. But if there was anywhere the Jets could have afforded to lose someone, it was linebacker. They were deep before Calvin Pace got here, and now they're even deeper. In fact, Trusnik's departure makes room for Clowney.

    The draft picks, a 3rd (could be a 2nd if Edwards dominates) and a 5th, hurt, but they are recoverable. The Jets were clearly going to draft a receiver next year, so now they go into the draft still with their 1st and 2nd round picks and no glaring holes. You would think Mike Tannenbaum would trade down and try to recuperate some picks to replace all the ones he's traded lately.
Cons
  • On-field issues: It's great to quote 2007 stats, but what have you done for me lately? In Edwards case, very little but drop passes. His 2008 season was a disaster, and his 30 dropped passes since 2007 is tied for the NFL lead. He hastened Derek Anderson's downfall in Cleveland one year after the two combined for a magical pass-catch combination.
  • Off-field issues: Concentration and focus have been a problem with him, not just on the field with dropped balls, but also off the field. He's had a number of off-field problems, and while none of them have been too serious, he is currently being investigated by the league after LeBron James said that Edwards punched one of his smaller friends. A suspension is unlikely but possible.
  • If he was said to enjoy the nightlife and have focus issues in Cleveland, what will happen when he comes to the Big Apple?
  • Contract issues: His salary is a big reason why he's been on the block. He's a free agent after this year, albeit a restricted one if there is no new collective bargaining agreement in place. If a deal between the owners and players gets completed, however, then Edwards could walk after the season. He's seeking in an extension in the neighborhood of $9 million dollars a year. The Jets will not and should not give that to him. He's not worth it, at least not yet, and if they were to give yet another outsider a big contract before taking care of Washington, it might cause irreparable damage.
  • A promising receiver and linebacker, as well as two mid-draft picks, were all spent to potentially rent a receiver who hasn't been productive in over a year, and who wants a big contract. That's a lot of eggs to put in one basket. Edwards might drop it.
So do the pros outweigh the cons? In my book, yes. His mere presence alone should force defenses to play the Jets differently, and if he turn's some 3's into 7's in the red zone, it should be worth it. Chances are, he'll be an RFA after this year, so the Jets should have almost two years to evaluate what to do with him. In the meantime, the entire offense's job just became much easier. And if the offense can put up more points, the defense's job just became much easier as well.

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