Monday, April 12, 2010

The trade heard round the world

The Santonio Holmes to NY Jets for a 5th round pick should probably be sending more shockwaves through the NFL than the McNabb deal. There are a lot of interesting aspects and potential ramifications to this trade, a lot of which will probably play out in what could make for some very interesting playoff dynamics.

First and foremost, the Jets now have to be considered a legitimate Superbowl contender, under a couple big caveats. Every year, the NFL is full of "ifs," so this is really nothing new. "If" Peyton Manning gets hurt, do the Colts make the Superbowl? "If" Tom Brady doesn't blow his ACL, do the Pats miss it two years ago? The Jets have two big "ifs" to make them Superbowl contenders. The first is "if" Mark Sanchez builds on what amounted to an impressive, Joe-Flacco-like rookie season.

The second is "if" all these newly acquired trouble-makers on their roster play to their on-field talent, and don't derail the team with their off-field problems. The Jets now look like the Raiders of old (and honestly, of today) in that they're willing to take a risk on any player with a little bit of talent in order to get better. Peter King noticed the same thing in his MMQB article today. This is pretty interesting, because it could give them a shot at a Superbowl, or it could blow up in their faces and have them picking in the top ten next year.

Now we need to turn our attention to the Steelers a bit. The media is billing this as a shot across Roethlisberger's bow; a clear warning sign for him to get his act straight or else he'll wind up shipped out. It's a pretty rampant rumor right now that the Steelers were likely to release Santonio if no one wanted to trade for him.

The trade itself is fairly shocking simply given the fact that they didn't try to get even reasonable compensation for him. A fifth round pick? I'm assuming it's the Jets' original fifth round pick, thus making it a pretty low one. For a guy that was the Superbowl MVP two years ago and had over 1,200 receiving yards last year? With no off-field troubles, the guy has low first / high second round talent.

In other news, Brian Xander is in an office somewhere cursing the Steelers for resetting the market on Brandon Marshall.

But we need to consider for a second that this isn't so much a warning shot at Big Ben as it is a preview of what's to come. Not that it's likely to happen, or that it's anything more than pure speculation on my part, mind you. But we need to consider the possibility that Roethlisberger is the next one on the block, and they may be aggressively shopping him right now.

This, of course, would be unprecedented. A two time Superbowl winning quarterback in his 20s with a career rating over 90 is not someone that any team in the NFL would ever think they might want to trade for any compensation. But let's take stock for a moment. This isn't the first time Ben's had some fairly major issues. And it's not just the initial sexual assault allegations. There was the infamous motorcycle incident four years back as well. As one of my friends noted, it's the third off-season he's created a major distraction / black eye for the organization, but the first time it hasn't happened after a Superbowl win.

And this isn't the Raiders we're talking about here. The Steelers are more in fact the anti-Raiders. They ditch trouble-makers at the first sign of it, and they don't look back. For all the lauding the Patriots get about not falling in love with players, let's remember how quick the Steelers were to dismiss Joey Porter, Plaxico and Randle-El. What's their tolerance level for Big Ben, given both his proclivity for distraction balanced against his impressive on-field talent?

And more interesting, what sort of compensation could they get for him? Last year, Jay Cutler fetched Denver a couple first round picks. Roethlisberger is clearly more talented, but if they're trying to off-load him, can they expect to get much even close to that level? With a potential suspension looming, the balance of an 8 year $102MM contract and a whole host of off-field distractions, how much would a team be willing to give for him?

The situation deserves some pretty intense scrutiny. It's been a really interesting off-season this year, and is only bound to get better.


  1. I don't really believe the Steelers will move Big Ben. He's still on the short list of QBs who present a special problem to defenses on 3rd down: a top 5 or so QB, even if his stats aren't quite there.

    But it's amazing how smart the Steelers are. They *could* move Ben if they wanted to. They got Dennis Dixon for super cheap, and it seems like he might be able to play. They give themselves options.

  2. Yeah, I see no chance that Roethlisberger is traded. He hasn't been indicted so there is no risk of a suspension. The most Goodell can do is the split fingered 'I've-got-my-eye-on-you' speech.

    I tend to agree that Roethlisberger probably has a short leash with the Steelers, but his circumstance is significantly different from Holmes'.

    I believe that the mixup that Holmes had with the lady at the bar barely creased the view of the Steeler front office. The drug suspension on the other hand? That was the deal killer.

    This is a pretty big deal, but I don't think it comes close to the magnitude of your headline. This is a 12 game tryout for Holmes. His contract is up at the end of the year and Pittsburgh probably just decided they didn't want to deal with the hassle.

    I could see where some might think this is a 'lynch the black guy so the white quarterback can get off scott free' thing, and to some extent it probably is, but I doubt skin color has a thing to do with it.

  3. LOLO 'no risk of suspension.'

    I'll take 10-1 on your max up to $100, PatchD.


  4. 6 games, slightly more than I thought...


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