Though it’s highly unlikely, if not unpossible, that the NFL would suspend Jets receiver Braylon Edwards during the 2009 postseason, his decision to plead no contest to charges that he assaulted Steve Urkel in the final days of Edwards’ tenure with the Browns will hurt him in the pocketbook.
He’s due to become a restricted free agent, and the willingness of other teams to chase him via an offer sheet will be diminished by the fact that a suspension likely is coming.
“No contest” is the equivalent of “guilty.” Though it gives the defendant the ability to claim that he still really didn’t do it but that he just didn’t want the hassle of a trial, the NFL won’t apply that distinction.
Four years ago, then-Bears cornerback Ricky Manning pleaded no contest to charges of beating a guy up at a Westwood Denny’s, and the league suspended Manning for a game, despite his claim that he actually was innocent.
So whoever has Braylon Edwards on the payroll for 2010 will acquire his rights knowing that, for at least one game in the coming season, there will be no footballs clanging off his facemask.