No Value in Releasing Braylon Edwards
There was a rumor that picked up big steam this morning that the Jets were considering the release of WR Braylon Edwards due to a number of factors concerning his recent arrest. That rumor has pretty much been debunked elsewhere and it would be hard to believe that the Jets would ever consider the move. Trade? Maybe. Release? No way.
Edwards recent DUI arrest came at the worst possible time for him and the organization. The team had, in some circles, been heavily criticized for the way the team was portrayed on the show Hard Knocks. Things got worse for the team when reporter Ines Sainz was reportedly harassed by both players and coaches when she was at a practice with the team to do a piece on QB Mark Sanchez. The Jets have been desperate to win a PR battle to up the name value of the franchise and things had not gone as well as hoped. Edwards arrest was icing on the cake and the Jets decision for a token “no start” punishment has been taken to task by the loudest voices on sports radio and TV, which is really unfair considering the number of players who have been arrested for similar offenses and were simply told to not do it again as punishment. Edwards' subsequent apology came off as half hearted and there are players on the team now publicly questioning his desire to be a member of this team.
None of this could have sat well with owner Woody Johnson and I am sure that there would have at least been a discussion of releasing the player, which is probably how the rumor got started. If there is one thing we all should have learned from watching the HBO show it is how the front office considers every possibility before making a final decision. In this case the options would be to have no punishment, a one game suspension, a trade, or to release the player from his contract. I am sure every option was considered. I'm sure every possible ramification of each move was discussed from legal grievances to on field consequences to media relations.
From a financial standpoint the Jets have no reason to release Edwards. When the Jets signed Edwards to his 1 year contract he received about 1.75 million in various bonus money that has already been allocated to him. Because Edwards is already a vested veteran his base salary of $4,355,000 will be completely paid to Edwards as termination pay if the Jets were to release him. So financially it makes no sense for the Jets, a team that has carefully watched every dollar it has spent this year, to let him go with no compensation.
If the team were to find a trade partner that changes the situation. The balance of his salary no longer becomes the responsibility of the team in that situation. They also will receive compensation from a team via the trade. Trades for players do not happen often in the NFL, but the Jets have been very proactive in trading players. The recent trade talks for San Diego's WR Vincent Jackson have made it apparent that there is a market for a big wide receiver. While you never want to trade a player to an upcoming opponent the fact is that the Jets do have a good relationship with the Minnesota Vikings and the Vikings are desperate for a wide receiver.
If the Jets are serious about benching Edwards for a full game, and the media may be pressuring them to do so, a trade might not be impossible to make. With the anemic Bills on the schedule in week 4 and the subsequent activation of WR Santonio Holmes from the suspended list the question becomes how much do the Jets really need Edwards and his headaches around the club? Probably not very much….assuming they can get value back for him.
How would the players react to the move? It does not sound like they would care one way or the other. The comments coming out about Edwards behavior have been terrible. It really makes me wonder how much he is liked in the locker room. He was good friends with S Kerry Rhodes who nobody shed any tears for when was shipped out of town, so maybe there is some carryover to Edwards.
But the bottom line is that releasing him makes no sense at all. The Jets are all about value and there is no football value to releasing the second best WR on your team. I do feel a trade could be a viable option provided his QB tells the front office that he can play without him, but if the QB stands up for him, and Mark Sanchez was one of the guys to initially support Edwards, you can not trade him, no matter how much the local media crucifies you for it. This is the NFL. Players get in trouble all the time and nobody cares. The Bengals became a running joke with all the arrests. People only care because this is NY and the Jets crave the limelight. It should be a non-issue, but unfortunately it is becoming another distraction for the club.