The New York Jets contract purge continues. The team announced on Monday they have released wide receiver Santonio Holmes.
The former Super Bowl MVP had a cap charge of $10.75 million for the 2014 season, which would have been the eighth-highest of any receiver in the league. He would have been due a $1 million roster bonus on Thursday. Instead, the Jets cleared $8.25 million in cap space and are left with a dead money charge of $2.5 million. They have cleared $17.75 million in the past 24 hours with the release of Holmes and cornerback Antonio Cromartie.
The two moves put the Jets' cap number up to $39.77 million this offseason according to Spotrac.
Holmes, 30, was traded in the 2010 offseason, going to the Jets from the Pittsburgh Steelers for a fifth-round pick in the 2010 draft. The eight-year veteran played four years in New York, and finished his Jets career with 146 receptions, 2,128 yards and 16 touchdowns in 43 games.
Holmes has been a thorn in the Patriots' side since joining the Jets, and has 23 receptions for 296 yards and two touchdown in five games (regular season and playoffs). In recent years, Holmes has dealt with a slew of injuries. He missed 12 games in 2012 (Lisfranc), and five games in 2013 (foot, hamstring).
There is still the possibility that Holmes could be back with the Jets at a reduced rate, but they could put that money to better use by targeting one of the top free agents available. The Steelers' Emmanuel Sanders and the Denver Broncos' Eric Decker would both make nice additions to the offense.
They could also target a wide receiver with one or more of their draft choices. They were in contact with USC wide receiver Marqise Lee and Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins at the scouting combine, who are both projected to be first-round picks.
Holmes never reached his ceiling in New York, and while that may be due in part to bad quarterback play, there were also questions about his effort at times. He's a big name, but he hasn't had a big season in quite some time. He has just one 1,000-yard season, and he had it back in 2009. He has just 43 catches for 828 yards and two touchdowns in the past two seasons (15 games).
What will the market be for an injury-prone veteran receiver with diminishing talents and a reputation as a divisive presence in the locker room? He could be a nice veteran backup for a team that is comfortable with his baggage. On a low-risk deal, plenty of teams could be willing to take a chance on Holmes. Those teams, however, should not expect him to be a dominant presence for their offense.
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