Yesterday Metro New York's Kristian Dyer asked Holmes whether he'd be willing to take a pay cut in 2014 to remain with the team. The answer was deemed surprising enough that members of the media asked Tone the same question twice apparently.
“Anything for the team,” Holmes said.Holmes is averaging 21.9 yards per catch, but that is deceiving. Holmes has been targeted 49 times for just 18 receptions; that math comes to a horrific 37% catch rate. Quality starting receivers should be somewhere in the mid to high 60s. A quick look on Football Outsiders shows that with similar playing time only second year Bills WR TJ Graham has as bad (38%) a catch rate as Holmes. Jeremy Kerley has battled through injuries to post a respectable 62% catch rate, granted on shallower routes. QB Geno Smith has to share fault with Holmes catch rate, but as last week amply demonstrated while the blame is shared, the mental lapses for a guy about to make $10.75 million in 2014 aren't appropriate.
He was asked again if that meant even taking a pay cut and his answer was word-for-word the same.
“Anything for the team,” Holmes repeated.
One of my biggest complaints about Holmes is that he's always been a receiver who needs his opposite number to be effective. On this team, he is a yin without a yang and has never been able to create much for himself, even dating back to his Steelers days. In 2013, Holmes has been a boom or bust part of the offense -- problematic for a rookie quarterback who needs consistency.
Since Holmes got his contract in 2011, it has been downhill. Back in January/February of 2012 we wrote that it would be a mistake for Tannenbaum to not cut Holmes before getting locked in through 2014. For right or wrong, it has all been about waiting out the contract since then. Come January, the Jets get back on the right side of the deal.
As a baseline the Jets project to have about $22 million in space. Cutting Holmes, Sanchez and Cro pushes that number to almost $48 million. Holmes alone would account for almost $8 million of that figure ... or about 16% of their highest cap ceiling. For a team desperate to make upgrades to their secondary and offense heading into the 2014 NFL Draft, Holmes' $8 million would go a long way.
I don't see Holmes returning in almost any circumstance, but for sake of argument let's say he does. Unless Holmes is willing to restructure so that he sees only about $2 -4 million in 2014 with nothing hanging over the team's head for 2015 he couldn't be back. In that narrow case, then it still comes down to what intangibles Tone offers the team over production; just like GM John Idzik's affinity for David Garrard.
And therein lies the irony.
While Tone's production was fairly good in the past, it was all Tone's intangibles that have historically been the problem. Therefore the thought of the Jets keeping Santonio Holmes for all the reasons he's been an organizational thorn-in-the-side during his NFL career seems preposterous.