Last Thursday, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez told me during a visit to The Dan Patrick Show that the third-year quarterback would like to bring back as many of last season’s players as possible in 2011.
Mark may not get his wish.
There’s a growing buzz that receiver Santonio Holmes will be a hot commodity once free agency opens. Already linked to the historically big-spending Redskins, other teams looking to comply with the heightened salary floor could decide to spend some money on a guy who made one of the all-time best plays in Super Bowl history, and who otherwise has a knack for showing up in the clutch.
That said, there are two issues that could cut against Holmes getting a gigantic payday. First, the new labor deal still could give teams the ability to apply a “right of first refusal” to players who would have been restricted free agents under the 2010 rules. Holmes, drafted in 2006, has five years of service, which would make him eligible for a “right of first refusal” designation if the new CBA gives teams that unwarranted (in our view) privilege. Though Holmes would still get paid handsomely, another team may not be willing to take the time to sign Holmes to an offer sheet, if there’s any chance the Jets would match it.
Second, Holmes served a four-game suspension last season for violation of the substance abuse policy, which makes him one “wake-n-bake” away from a one-year suspension. That risk needs to be reflected in any contract he signs.
Still, look for someone to get caught up in Holmes’ past performances, and to become intrigued by the ability to make it harder for the Jets to finally punch through the AFC title game and get to the Super Bowl.