By Kristian Dyer
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A team lacking direction has made another rudderless move.
What does is say of the state of the Jets that fans are ecstatic over the return of a player with 23 catches for 255 yards and one touchdown over the past two seasons? Sure, the return of Braylon Edwards is low-risk, high-reward for a receiving corps hit hard by injuries, but the return of a player who was relatively solid with the team two years ago is not the answer.
In fact, it opens up even more questions.
The fact that the team’s management caved in to the pressure of fans and media to re-sign a player who wasn’t ever a part of their future after 2012 is a sign that this team lacks direction at the top. Signing Edwards now in Week 15 shows that the Jets didn’t build the requisite depth during the offseason to sustain the injuries, dings and bang-ups that are a given during the course of the NFL season. It also shows that team management doesn’t have confidence in the young talent at the bottom of their roster or on the practice squad.
There is nothing inherently wrong with the Jets bringing back Edwards, a player who enjoyed success with the team and a strong chemistry with quarterback Mark Sanchez. The move is a response to an injury crunch, and from time to time, even the best NFL teams have to roll the dice and make a desperate move or two. It should be noted that the Jets haven’t made the playoffs since Edwards left the team.
He hasn’t been the same player since he left, either.
The Jets made the right call two years ago when they saw his decline coming. Now they’re doubling back and making a much worse decision by hoping to eek something out of whatever is left in his body.
Injuries have limited Edwards to a negligible impact in San Francisco and Seattle the past two seasons, with a combined 23 receptions for 255 yards and a touchdown during that stretch. Now Edwards is asked to do the impossible and be an immediate contributor.
He can’t help out much on the field, and to expect any more than that from him would be a colossal blunder from the organization. He’s not a building block of the organization anymore, not by any stretch of the imagination. This move is a stopgap at best, and it most likely won’t have any effect on the field.
But this move is an even bigger indictment on Jets management. On Monday, head coach Rex Ryan said of the interest in Edwards that “we’ll just focus on the guys we have,” and in the past he’s talked about wanting to get younger at wide receiver. Now the Jets have brought in a 29-year-old who has been hit hard by injuries and whose productivity is waning. It is head-scratching stuff at a time when they should be moving on, moving forward and not sideways or even back.
Somewhere that Bob Belichick (sic) fellow is smiling. The Patriots, or for that matter organizations like the Giants, Ravens, Steelers or 49ers, wouldn’t stand for that kind of slam of their team. The message that today’s signing sends to the rest of the league is that a player can disrespect the organization, but if it is expedient then the Jets will sign the player.
It doesn’t matter if it undermines the status of management or sets a bad precedent.
Now enters a scenario where a former player disrespects the team and is now welcomed back. What that says to the 52 other players in the locker room is that the team’s authority and hierarchy has no bearing if you can catch the ball and make plays. Of course, it remains to be seen if the battered and broken Edwards can do just that — actually produce and make plays for the first time since 2010.
It is another questionable move from a team with very few certainties about it.
Kristian R. Dyer covers the Jets for Metro New York and also contributes to Yahoo! Sports. He can be followed on Twitter here for insight, news and snarky comments.
Does it make the Jets look terrible that they brought in a player who publicly ridiculed them just a week ago? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…