Often when an NFL player is traded, he immediately signs a more lucrative contract with his new club. This is not the case for Braylon Edwards as the former Cleveland standout will arrive in New York this afternoon and continue working under the final year of a five-year deal he signed with the Browns in 2005.
"We acquired Braylon and his contract and we're going to honor his contract," said Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum.
Edwards, a Michigan product who was selected No. 3 overall by the Browns in the '05 draft, gets a chance to prove his worth in new situation. He is being investigated by both the Cleveland Police Department and the National Football League for a scuffle outside a nightclub last weekend.
But the Jets and vice president of security Steve Yarnell, who was a former FBI special agent, thoroughly investigate anyone who walks through their doors. The Green & White think they can work with Edwards and it will probably also help that the receiver leaves a winless team for a 3-1 Jets club that has its eyes on a return to the postseason.
"Sometimes a fresh start can do a lot of people good. We can look at Wayne Hunter and Kris Jenkins. I think when they came here, they exceeded our expectations with a fresh start," Mr. T. said.
"As I told Braylon this morning, we're excited he's a Jet and he's going to be here. Let's learn from what happened in Cleveland but today's a new day, a new team, and we're excited he's with us. We're going to go into this with our eyes open and it's a true partnership."
Tannenbaum stressed that Edwards, 26, is still a young man and he believes the organization will be a good landing spot. The Jets have a locker room full of character and their newest addition will be able to help himself by soaking in some knowledge from vets like Jerricho Cotchery, Tony Richardson, Thomas Jones, Alan Faneca, Bart Scott and the aforementioned Jenkins.
You cannot question Edwards' skillset. He's physical, fast and tough, and he'll be a valuable addition to a team that's currently ranked 25th in scoring (18.3 points per game) and 27th in pass offense (166.8 ypg).
The 6'3", 215-pound Edwards, who has 10 catches after four games, caught 55 balls in 2008. But he rocked the NFL in '07, hauling in 80 passes for 1,289 yards with 16 scores. His career stat line includes 238 receptions, 3,697 yards (15.5 per grab) and 28 TDs.
By trading for Edwards, in the final year of his deal, are the Jets sending a "win now" message?
"Our expectations are always to have a successful season. That's why we do everything we do year round," Mr. T. said. "If these trades happen the same year, it's much more of coincidence than anything else. It was just what we felt was the right price, the right opportunity, at the right time."
Tannenbaum was referring to the second time in less than six months that the Jets and the Browns have pulled off a blockbuster trade. If you're scoring at home, the Green & White got Mark Sanchez and Edwards in exchange for five veteran players — S Abram Elam, DE Kenyon Coleman, QB Brett Ratliff, Stuckey and Trusnik — and draft picks. Sanchez cost the Nos. 17 and 52 picks in April. The Jets have not disclosed the picks in the Edwards deal.
"We're excited we got Mark Sanchez on draft day, we're excited we got Braylon," Mr. T. said. "But we're always trying to improve the team and our expectations are high. We owe that to our fans and that is what Woody Johnson expects from us."
So the Jets will have Edwards for this season's final 12 regular-season games and hopefully the postseason. But we'll have to stay tuned to see if he's a Jet in 2010 and beyond.