Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wideouts bring baggage to AFC East

The AFC East just got a lot more interesting: The Jets and Dolphins have each added a troubled WR (isn't that an oxymoron by now?) to their squads in the past week.

We begin with Santonio Holmes, traded from Pittsburgh to New York for a fifth-round pick. There's no denying his talent - everyone who saw his game-winning catch in Super Bowl XLIII (above) will agree - but let's just say his character leaves something to be desired. He's fresh off an assault charge and he'll be suspended for four weeks in 2010 for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

The Jets were willing to take a chance on Holmes, a 1,000-yard receiver last year with the Steelers who will provide second-year QB Mark Sanchez another option along with wideouts Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards and TE Dustin Keller. While the trade makes Sanchez a viable fantasy No. 2 QB, it hurts Holmes' value. The Jets are a run-first team, and all those pass-catchers, plus the four-game suspension, make it unlikely Holmes will repeat his 1,000-yard performance. Consider him a No. 3 WR next year.

Oh, and one guy benefits in Pittsburgh: WR Mike Wallace, who should step right in and take up the slack behind No. 1 Hines Ward.

Now we move to Miami, where mercurial wideout Brandon Marshall was sent for two second-rounders. Marshall's troubles in Denver were nearly endless, but so were his talents as a dynamic possession receiver - see his three straight 100-catch seasons, plus last year's 21-catch, 200-yard, two-TD showing in Week 14.

The Dolphins provide Marshall with a number of advantages: A fresh start, a promising young QB in Chad Henne and a clear opportunity to be the No. 1 WR (sorry, Ted Ginn). I expect Marshall to be a good citizen and a top-10 WR in 2010, maybe even top-five.

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