Jets’ GM on Holmes: Risk is significant but manageable

The New York Jets completed a major trade on Monday when they acquired wide receiver Santonio Holmes from the Pittsburgh Steelers for a fifth round draft pick. Holmes had fallen out of favor in Pittsburgh after being accused of assaulting a woman at a Florida night club, and then subsequently being suspended by the league four games for violating its substance abuse policy.

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum joined ESPN Radio in New York with Michael Kay to talk about trading for Holmes and the Jets’ situation moving forward. To listen to the interview with Tannenbaum, go to Sports Radio Interviews.

Wide receiver Santonio Holmes led the Steelers in receiving yards in 2009.
Wide receiver Santonio Holmes led the Steelers in receiving yards in 2009.

How much did Holmes’ off-field troubles concern the Jets?

Tannenbaum: He’s had a number of indiscretions and we’re going to work with Santonio, hopefully from a standpoint of him learning from what he did, and then him getting a fresh start here in New York. He can do a lot of great things on the field, but he needs to take care of what needs to be done off the field so he can have the best chance at being successful moving forward.

How talented do the Jets think Holmes is, and did they weigh that against his baggage?

Tannenbaum: Well, we know there are issues here, Mike. It’s a little bit like a guy like Cromartie –  a guy who’s 26 years old and has ball skills at corner. There’s reasons these guys are available and there’s risks involved, and in this case, the risk is significant. But with that said, the risk for us is manageable because we think the upside is great, and as [Jets head coach] Rex [Ryan] has said, specifically, Holmes cost him a ring.

Going back two years ago to the Steelers-Ravens games and the playoff game, that was the one player they couldn’t stop. And he makes those two to three plays a game that can make the difference between winning and losing. So with that said, knowing that there was the suspension and only one year left on his contract, we felt like the risk and the price was reasonable.

Did the Jets feel more comfortable making this move because Rex Ryan has the ability to manage all sorts of personalities?

Tannenbaum: He certainly feels that way. He’s a dynamic person and he has a unique ability to relate to all different types of people. So with that said, it does give us some latitude to look into these types of opportunities.

But again, it’s not about Rex. It’s about the New York Jets organization, led by Rex, and we think we have a lot of great people to give him a chance to be successful. But Rex was completely on board and we feel good about it.

How much of a concern was Holmes’ upcoming four game suspension?

Tannenbaum: It was a huge concern, Mike, and where we came out on that was, you go back a year ago, Shaun Ellis missed our first game, Calvin Pace missed the first four games, and over the 16 game season, they still helped us quite a bit.

In baseball, you know, that would be missing the first 40 games – it’s 25% of the season. But you still have 75% of it to go, and hopefully those will be 12 really important and meaningful games, and what better shot in the arm than to add a guy of his caliber in the fifth game of the season.

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The New York Jets completed a major trade on Monday when they acquired wide receiver Santonio Holmes from the Pittsburgh Steelers for a fifth round draft pick. Holmes had fallen out of favor in Pittsburgh after being accused of assaulting a woman at a Florida night club, and then subsequently being suspended by the league four games for violating its substance abuse policy.

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum joined ESPN Radio in New York with Michael Kay to talk about trading for Holmes and the Jets’ situation moving forward. To listen to the interview with Tannenbaum, go to Sports Radio Interviews.

Wide receiver Santonio Holmes led the Steelers in receiving yards in 2009.
Wide receiver Santonio Holmes led the Steelers in receiving yards in 2009.

How much did Holmes’ off-field troubles concern the Jets?

Tannenbaum: He’s had a number of indiscretions and we’re going to work with Santonio, hopefully from a standpoint of him learning from what he did, and then him getting a fresh start here in New York. He can do a lot of great things on the field, but he needs to take care of what needs to be done off the field so he can have the best chance at being successful moving forward.

How talented do the Jets think Holmes is, and did they weigh that against his baggage?

Tannenbaum: Well, we know there are issues here, Mike. It’s a little bit like a guy like Cromartie –  a guy who’s 26 years old and has ball skills at corner. There’s reasons these guys are available and there’s risks involved, and in this case, the risk is significant. But with that said, the risk for us is manageable because we think the upside is great, and as [Jets head coach] Rex [Ryan] has said, specifically, Holmes cost him a ring.

Going back two years ago to the Steelers-Ravens games and the playoff game, that was the one player they couldn’t stop. And he makes those two to three plays a game that can make the difference between winning and losing. So with that said, knowing that there was the suspension and only one year left on his contract, we felt like the risk and the price was reasonable.

Did the Jets feel more comfortable making this move because Rex Ryan has the ability to manage all sorts of personalities?

Tannenbaum: He certainly feels that way. He’s a dynamic person and he has a unique ability to relate to all different types of people. So with that said, it does give us some latitude to look into these types of opportunities.

But again, it’s not about Rex. It’s about the New York Jets organization, led by Rex, and we think we have a lot of great people to give him a chance to be successful. But Rex was completely on board and we feel good about it.

How much of a concern was Holmes’ upcoming four game suspension?

Tannenbaum: It was a huge concern, Mike, and where we came out on that was, you go back a year ago, Shaun Ellis missed our first game, Calvin Pace missed the first four games, and over the 16 game season, they still helped us quite a bit.

In baseball, you know, that would be missing the first 40 games – it’s 25% of the season. But you still have 75% of it to go, and hopefully those will be 12 really important and meaningful games, and what better shot in the arm than to add a guy of his caliber in the fifth game of the season.

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