Thoughts on the Braylon Edwards Signing with the Jets


Braylon Edwards is back with the Jets, how much can we expect from him? Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a couple of hours now since the return of Braylon Edwards became official. The dust has settled, sort of, so I wanted to get more into detail with my opinion regarding Braylon.

This is a low risk, high reward move. First of all, look at the depth chart for the Jets at receiver, if you can do so without getting sick. Chaz Schilens, Stephen Hill, Clyde Gates, Jeremy Kerley, Mardy Gilyard. We can’t include Holmes, so look at this list. Does Edwards top the list? Talent-wise, ABSOLUTELY! He brings with him an instant upgrade to the Jets group of wide receivers. He’s only 29 years old, so he is still within the prime of his career.

He also has chemistry with Mark Sanchez. The two have been good together. Over Braylon’s two years with Mark Sanchez, he recorded for 1,445 yards and 11 TDs. Are those elite numbers? Absolutely not. But the TD numbers are great, and are clear evidence of the confidence that Mark has in Braylon, especially near the end zone. He was the deep threat in the 11-5 year of 2010, averaging 17.1 yards per catch.

Good move from the front office standpoint as well. One, they put their pride to the side. Braylon did make his comments, calling the front office “idiots”. He did apologize, but the fact was that the statement was out there. It’s big of Mike Tannenbaum and company to get past that, and know that he is an instant improvement to this football team. It shouldn’t be a big financial risk either. Sources are reporting that the Jets are going to look to re-do Braylon’s contract, setting him up with a low salary with potential incentives. Assuming that the restructuring comes to pass, at worst, it’s a three game rental without much money being involved. At best, the Jets get a guy that pays instant dividends, and haven’t taken a serious financial hit against the cap.

It’s nice to see that the Jets are making a move that the fans have asked for as well. Reports have surfaced that the Jets tried to trade for Edwards after Santonio went down. Woody Johnson and company claim to have a feeling for what the fans want. Clearly, fans have been annoyed all season, and this is a good gesture to get fans interested again.

However, temper your enthusiasm with realism. Turn the page and I will explain what I mean.

Tony Sparano is not the guy that Braylon Edwards played for in his first tour of duty with the Jets. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, Braylon Edwards had chemistry with Mark Sanchez, no doubt. But, the last time he caught a pass from Mark Sanchez was nearly 24 months ago. The last time they played together was in January of 2011, when the Jets faced the Steelers in the AFC title game. Anyone who has watched this team knows, that is a LONG TIME AGO. Both in the literal and figurative sense, it has been a while. It’s unrealistic to think that he will come back to NJ, and the relationship on the football field will just pick up where it left off. The relationship between quarterback and wide receiver is about timing, and feel for one another. That will take time to re-establish.

Secondly, keep in mind the stats that Braylon did put up while he was here. He did score 11 TDs, we can’t take that away from him. But in his best year, he recorded 53 catches for 904 yards. I know people are excited, but let’s not get carried away. Don’t make it seem like we just re-acquired Jerry Rice in his prime. This is not a move that has fixed this team. It will help, but it is far from the only move that this team needs to make in the long term.

Braylon Edwards has never played in this offense. Remember, he was here with Brian Schottenheimer, not Tony Sparano. It will take time for Braylon to learn the playbook. Hopefully, they will be able to have Braylon set up with a package of plays that he will be able to run on Monday night, but don’t expect him to be a master of this offense in 4-5 days. It is just not realistic. He also hasn’t played with THIS version of Mark Sanchez. The Mark Sanchez that Braylon Edwards played with was a confident version. It was a version that had fun playing football, and took his team to back to back AFC championship games.

We have talked about this at length, Mark Sanchez is a broken down version of himself. Despite the win last week, to say that Mark has regained his confidence would be pretty far from the truth. To say that the coaches have a lot of confidence in Mark would be wrong as well, despite what coach Ryan says. Last week, Mark Sanchez was not out there to win the game, he wasn’t given that opportunity. He was out there just not to lose it. Does the return of Braylon Edwards magically bring back all of the confidence to Mark Sanchez? I don’t think so, it’s not that simple. Does Tony Sparano all of a sudden open up the offense because Braylon Edwards is here? I doubt that even more. He will help, but this is not a magic fix for the Jets offense.

Finally, Braylon Edwards has not exactly been setting the world on fire since he left the Jets, racking up only 23 catches for 255 yards and 1 TD. Yes, he has had some problems with injuries, but the lack of production still has to be part of the equation. Is he truly healthy enough to make an impact? We really don’t know until we see it on the field, do we?

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy with this move. It’s nice to finally see a move that could BENEFIT Mark Sanchez. No doubt about it. Let’s just be real about it, and not book our day off to visit the ticker tape parade just yet. The Jets have many more issues to solve.