In the wake of the stunning decision to hand Super Bowl XLIII MVP Santonio Holmes
to the Jets for a fifth-round draft pick, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
reports that the Steelers were prepared to release Holmes
if they hadn't been able to trade him.
Per Bouchette, the Jets made the best offer for Holmes.
And that's not a surprise. Per a league source, Holmes was off many draft boards in 2006. Though Holmes vindicated the low first-round pick by helping the Steelers win a Super Bowl, his career in Pittsburgh is ending under the same cloud (literally and figuratively) that many had feared.
Still, we don't understand why the Steelers would hand Holmes to the Jets, given that the two teams compete for wild-card berths and/or home-field advantage. We would have taken less from a team in the NFC, like the Redskins, Giants, Bears, Panthers, Bucs, or Seahawks.
If, in the end, the Steelers could have only gotten a conditional cold turkey sandwich for Holmes, they still would have taken the deal. If he had been released, he likely would have made a bee line for Baltimore.