By Ryan Alfieri, Editor
On the surface, it is a perplexing fact that Braylon Edwards is anywhere but Florham Park this August. Not only was Bralyon a tremendous asset during the 2009 and 2010 seasons, but he was effective as a late-season addition last year and would give the team much needed depth at a position of need.
However, there are always reasons why such moves are not made. Bringing in older veterans stunts the growth of younger players, and for a rebuilding team like the Jets, adding older veterans is no way to build a team for the long-term.
So, which one is it? Let’s take a deeper look at both side of the argument.
Simply put, as a rebuilding team that will not be contenting next season, the Jets are in no position to be adding veterans that do nothing in the long-term. Now 30 years old, Edwards has had a bit of an injury history and can hardly be considered as reliable.
While he seems to have matured with age, he did get a DUI in 2010 and called the Jets brass “idiots” just days before they signed him. He is also a bit limited scheme-wise as strictly an outside receiver.
Bringing in a guy like Braylon will just stunt the growth of younger players, taking away valuable reps in practice and games. This is a huge offseason for Stephen Hill, who will already miss a lot of time recovering from his injury. He will need all of the reps he can get for a player that was already very raw coming out of Georgia Tech.
Yes, Braylon will take some reps away from other receivers, but outside of Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley, no one else on the Jets’ roster has a great chance to developing into viable starters.
Most importantly, we all saw how much lack of depth at the receiver spot cost the Jets wins. With no receivers to throw to, Sanchez regressed with every week. Santonio Holmes is coming off a season-ending injury and Stephen Hill has not proven to be reliable, why should the Jets risk their season on the same two receivers again?
What if Geno Smith is the starter and has to throw to Clyde Gates and Royce Pollard? Geno, like Sanchez, will be doomed before he ever had the chance. He could be a great red-zone target as well.
Plus, as a seasoned veteran, Braylon would be a tremendous asset for the younger receivers. He loves playing for the Jets and would certainly take a minimum salary to play for Rex Ryan.
Besides, he is only 30 and still played some solid football last year. He could still be a contributor when the Jets are competitive again. Ultimately, what Braylon will take away in terms of reps and playing time outweighs his downside.
Common sense says the Jets should be wary of bringing in veterans that will stunt the development of younger players, but the Jets do not have a ton of talent to nurture in the first place. Adding Braylon would give them valuable depth and help bring along a young Geno Smith if he is to be the starter.
Dust off your 17 jerseys (no, not your Plaxico jerseys!), let’s bring Braylon back.