NEW YORK (WFAN) — Santonio Holmes. Braylon Edwards. Brad Smith.
All three Jets wide receivers are poised to test free agency now that the NFL’s labor impasse is ending. General manager Mike Tannenbaum will have some serious juggling to do if he wants to make good on his promise to focus on the trio.
“We hope to keep them all,” Tannenbaum said after the team’s playoff ouster in January, referring to Holmes, Edwards and Smith.
“As we’ve said all along, we’d like to keep as many of our own guys as possible,” the general manager later told WFAN’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts in May. “Working with Rex (Ryan), he’s the best recruiter in America, so it makes my job a little bit easier.”
One popular, if pessimistic, thought among WFAN callers is the Jets won’t be able to retain all three, re-sign cornerback Antonio Cromartie, focus on other areas in free agency and stay under the salary cap. It would be easier on Tannenbaum if one player or another were unhappy in New York, but all seem to desire more time in green and white.
“They drafted me,” Smith told Adam the Bull on Friday. “They gave me an opportunity. … I definitely would love to stay with the Jets.”
“Sorry Jets fans, that not enough Jets stuff is here,” Holmes said in a birthday bash video posted to Facebook. “But trust me, as soon as I sign back with the Jets, everything will be taken care of.”
“This is where I want to be,” Edwards said at Mark Sanchez’s “Jets West” camp this spring. “I don’t want to go anywhere else to start over. I like the organization, I like the players and I love my quarterback.”
Edwards reiterated the thought Friday after he pleaded guilty to a DWI charge in Manhattan, saying he “most definitely” wants to stay with the Jets.
Troubled wide receivers Randy Moss and Plaxico Burress are among the popular options if New York loses out on Holmes, Edwards or, to a lesser extent, Smith.
So we ask Jets fans: who should New York re-up? Can the team actually re-sign all three?
One Gang Green fan, CBSNewYork.com columnist Jeff Capellini, wants the Jets to focus instead on another big fish — cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.
“If Tannenbaum simply can’t make it work financially, Ryan has to take his high approval rating out for a spin and see what it can do,” Capellini wrote last week. “Appeal to the 30-year-old Asomugha’s sensibilities while convincing him that if he wants a ring, the Jets are only team he should consider.”
One thing’s for sure: once the free-agent frenzy begins, all eyes in New York will be on Tannenbaum.
“I feel really good about our preparation,” Tannenbaum told Newsday. “We can only control the preparation. Like every day, unexpected things are going to happen. You just have to be prepared.”
Who should the Jets target in free agency? Sound off in the comments below…