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Steelers Trade WR Holmes to Jets: Why?

The Pittsburgh Steelers said goodbye to Santonio Holmes on Monday. (Jason Bridge/US Presswire)

What in the world is going on in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania? The Pittsburgh Steelers, a team that’s been under the microscope for all of the wrong reasons this offseason, made more news on Monday, trading Super Bowl-MVP wide receiver Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets for a fifth-round draft pick.

Yes, you read that correctly. The Jets got Holmes, a first-round pick in 2006, for a fifth-round draft pick! Now that folks, is what we call a steal.

Why did the Steelers make this deal?

The first thing everyone probably asked themselves when they heard the news on Monday morning is why would the Steelers make such a ridiculous trade? Well, there are many reasons; reasons that stem all the way back to Holmes’s rookie season. I’ve compiled a list, in chronological order, of all of his transgressions since he entered the league:

  • In May of 2006, Holmes was arrested in Miami Beach, Fla., for disorderly conduct during a Memorial Day weekend crackdown by local authorities. The charge was later dropped in exchange for a $250 donation to the Police Officers Assistance Trust Fund.
  • During the summer of 2006, Holmes was accused of choking LaShae Boone, the mother of one of his three children. The charges stemmed from a June 19 incident after which Boone called 911 and later gave police a statement in which she accused Holmes of “choking [her], throwing her to the ground, grabbing her arms, and slamming her into a door, leaving her with bruises, pain, and a torn shirt.” The charges were dismissed by a Franklin County Municipal Court Judge in December 2006.
  • On October 23, 2008, Holmes was pulled over by Pittsburgh Police near Mellon Arena. Police found three marijuana-filled cigars (blunts) in Holmes’s sport utility vehicle. The officers charged Holmes with a misdemeanor count of prohibited acts. He was suspended by the Steelers and did not play in their game against the New York Giants that Sunday (a game they lost).
  • In March of 2010, Holmes was accused of throwing a glass (filled with liquor) at a woman in an Orlando nightclub. Anshonae Mills accused Holmes of battery, assault, and intentional infliction of emotional distress due to being hit by the glass. Orlando Police are still investigating the incident, but it appears Holmes won’t be charged.
  • On Monday morning (April 12, 2010) Holmes was hit with a four-games suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Such a violation would be for either testing positive for a prohibited substance, or for missing a required test.

After Holmes received the four-game suspension, the Steelers decided they’d had enough, and shipped him off to New York City for a measly fifth-round draft pick.

What’s the impact of the Holmes trade?

Santonio Holmes is one of the best young wide receivers in the NFL, so it goes without saying that this trade could have a resounding impact not only on the New England Patriots, but the AFC East as a whole.

The Patriots secondary was the team’s Achilles heel last season, and now, the Jets have one of the best wide receiver trios in the NFL with Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, and Holmes.

Holmes is coming off his best season ever, with 79 receptions for 1,248 yards and 5 touchdowns. He was named the MVP of Super Bowl XLIII, a game in which he caught 9 passes for 131 yards including the game-winning touchdown. In five NFL seasona, Holmes has caught 235 passes for 3,835 yards and 20 touchdowns. That’s a lot of production coming New York’s way.

In Holmes, the Jets are getting an extremely fast and explosive player, who can stretch the field. He also has great hands, and isn’t afraid to catch passes in the middle of the field. During his time in Pittsburgh, Holmes was also asked to return punts during his first few seasons. He can do it all. In short, the Steelers lost a great player, and the Jets acquired one.

Are the Jets the best team in the AFC East?

There is no question the Jets are the best team in the AFC East on paper. Rex Ryan and company made several big moves this offseason to help improve a team that came one game shy of the Super Bowl last season. The Jets are solid across the board. They have perhaps the best offensive line in the NFL anchored by All-Pro guard Alan Faneca and center Nick Mangold. Adding Antonio Cromartie gave them another shutdown corner to put opposite Darrelle Revis. Running back Shonn Greene is a beast and will improve under the tutelage of LaDainian Tomlinson; and they have three elite-level wide receivers for Mark Sanchez to throw to.

Will Mark Sanchez have a big second season in the pros?

There are far too many variables that exist for me to guarantee Mark Sanchez will have a big second season, but adding Santonio Holmes will definitely help him reach that goal. The addition of Holmes will allow Cotchery to line up in the slot, where he has proven to be extremely effective. Holmes’s ability to stretch the field should also open up room in the seam for tight end Dustin Keller. I can say one thing for certain: if Sanchez has a poor year, it won’t be because he doesn’t have enough weapons.

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