With the recent dealing of wide receiver Santonio Holmes from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the New York Jets, I had look at the entire picture. Why would Holmes, a Super Bowl MVP only two seasons ago, be traded for a 5th round pick? Last season was the best of his career and he is only 26 years old. He's just starting to enter his prime and he suddenly gets traded for next to nothing?
Let's look at what I think was going through the Steelers organization's mind during this deal after the jump!
Subject: Santonio Holmes, WR.
Benefits of Keeping Holmes:
- One of the best receivers in the game.
- Just a season removed from being Super Bowl MVP.
- Had the best season of his career.
- Rounds out one of the best receiving trios in the league, with Hines Ward and Mike Wallace.
Reasons to Trade Holmes:
- Potential 4+ game suspension at the beginning of next season for violating the substance abuse policy.
- Another player on the Steelers who has spent the off-season in the forefront of the media due to making terrible life decisions.
- Trading Holmes- an elite player- would send a message to the rest of the Steelers players that the owners want the locker room to make better decisions. No one is untouchable.
- 1 year left on his contract.
- Mike Wallace has the potential to emerge as a strong #2 receiver across from Hines Ward and replace Holmes.
- The Steelers has a handful of late round picks they can utilize on getting receiver depth to fill #3 on the depth chart (and they have Antwaan Randel El who is still producing).
- They might get a better return from a player they draft than from the one partial season of keeping Holmes.
I think that the reasons for trading Holmes outweigh the reasons for keeping him. The Steelers, under the Rooneys, have prided themselves on having a respectful team and, recently, players haven't been fitting the team ideal of conduct. Unable to trade Ben Roethlisberger because he's the face of the franchise, shipping out Holmes sets the tone for the rest of the team- the front office is tired of your shenanigans. With Mike Wallace in the wings and many potential receivers in the draft, it's not like Holmes is irreplaceable.
So let's look at who they might deal Holmes to. This is where my conspiracy comes into play.
Teams willing to take on potentially troubled receivers:
- Bills - Taking a chance on Terrell Owens last season, the Bills have a definite need for wide receivers. I bet they would have offered greater than a 5th round pick for Holmes, even if it's for just a season. Thought on the no-trade: Buddy Nix wants to build a team and locker room and Holmes would undermine that long term goal.
- Chiefs - With a need for another offensive weapon for Matt Cassel, I could see the Chiefs giving up a higher pick than the Jets for Holmes, even if for under a season. Thought on the no-trade: Pioli, like Nix, doesn't want his team's foundation based upon shaky characters.
Bengals/Browns - Both teams have a need for a receiver, but I doubt the Steelers would deal within their division.
- Raiders - With Javon Walker not working out, Darrius Heyward-Bey being terrible, no other receiver really stepping out of the woodworks and Al Davis being Al Davis, it seems that the Raiders would have been an ideal location for Holmes to wind up. Thought on the no-trade: I feel like the Raiders wouldn't hesitate to utilize a draft pick on a 1 year loan (see Seymour, Richard), so I don't know why this deal wasn't made.
- Rams - The Rams have a need for offensive weapons for Sam Bradford/Colt McCoy/Jimmy Clausen to play with and Holmes would definitely fit the bill. Thought on the no-trade: Another non-deal that doesn't make sense to me. I feel like the Rams would have saddled up a pick to grab Holmes, even for just a loan.
- Panthers - With no top tier receiver across from Steve Smith, Holmes could provide a lethal passing attack that brings the Cats back to the top of the NFC South. Thought on the no-trade: I think the Panthers are fed up with bad locker room guys (Peppers, Julius) and weren't willing to bite with Holmes, even though he fits a need and would be had for a great price.
- Bucs - Just like the Rams, the Bucs need weapons for Josh Freeman. Thought on the no-trade: I thought the Bucs were the perfect team to make a deal to grab from Holmes.
So out of the teams that could have made a play for Holmes, I think really only the Raiders, Rams and Bucs would have been willing to dish out picks for the former Super Bowl MVP. So why the Jets? What do the Raiders, Rams and Bucs have in common? They're all terrible.
The Jets are the "upcoming team" in the AFC (and have been for the past 4 seasons). What would the Steelers gain from trading with another top team? That would be akin to the Patriots trading away Julian Edelman to the Bengals- it just doesn't make sense in the name of competition.
The Steelers benefit because the Jets are in the same division as the Patriots. "An enemy of my enemy is my friend" sort of logic. The Steelers need to get rid of a Super Bowl MVP- why not hurt your competition in the mean time? Holmes is so talented that if he went to the Raiders, Rams or Buccaneers, he we just end up rotting on that team. Why not utilize Holmes' great talent against a great rival (The Patriots) even if he's not on the team?
Holmes to the Jets is most likely a one year loan, due to the Jets most likely being unable to keep him after this next season. The Jets are here to win this upcoming season and are putting all their eggs in one basket. Holmes makes the Jets offense one of the most potent in the league and, paired with the best defense in the league, instantly makes the team one of the off-season Super Bowl favorites.
Either Holmes helps the Jets or breaks apart its locker room. Helping the Jets means hurting the Patriots (and other top teams down the road). Hurting the Jets means toppling a potential upcoming team. Win/Win for the Steelers.
Trading Holmes sends a message to the Steelers players that the Front Office is not taking anymore nonsense. The Steelers get a 5th round pick in return for this message. Win/Win for the Steelers.
So in summary, trading Holmes either helps the Jets bring down the Patriots and other top AFC teams, or brings down the Jets themselves, all while sending a message to the Steelers locker room and picking up a 5th round pick. Win/Win/Win/Win.
Of course this is all crazy talk. I just want the NFL world to revolve around the Patriots.
Then again, with the brains behind the Steelers and the brawn behind the Jets, this idea doesn't seem too crazy.