The New York Jets are expected to make wide receiver Santonio Holmes a salary cap casualty between now and the start of the new league year and there's been more than one person that has asked me if I thought the Pittsburgh Steelers might be interested in bringing him back if the price is right.
My short response to that would be, no, and here are a few reasons as to why I think that way.
For starters, Holmes has missed 17 games over the course of the last two seasons due to foot and hamstring injuries. With him set to turn 30 years of age in March, you wonder if Father Time has been able to get to him faster than most other receivers his age.
Even if Holmes' injury problems were to easily be put behind him, he isn't likely going to want to play for the veteran minimum or anything close to it and he hinted as much back in December. On top if it, he would expect to start opposite Antonio Brown and that's just not going to happen with second-year wide receiver Markus Wheaton expected to assume that role.
In addition to the above, Holmes, who the Steelers selected in the first-round of the 2006 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, still seems to have some maturity issues and still doesn't come off as a team player. He made news late last season with the Jets when he called out the Carolina Panthers secondary prior to facing them in Week 15.
“We do know not to call these guys out, but their secondary is probably their weakest link on their defense,” Holmes said.
The Panthers of course won that game 30-20 and Holmes finished with two catches for 14 yards, and two drops.
Following the Jets 24-14 win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 16, Holmes was apparently real short with the media after the game and walked off after answering just three questions. This caused former Jet great and current SportsNet post game analyst Joe Klecko to go off on Holmes.
"He is really the less of a teammate that anybody could ever want," Klecko said. "That proves it with him walking out. He knows he didn’t put forth an effort today. He thought he was just going to go out there and they would lay an egg. He didn't really put the effort in. He had it all preconceived. He’s just not a good guy."
The Steelers only need one veteran wide receiver in their locker room next season and hopefully it's Jerricho Cotchery once again. Cotchery, who just so happened to play his first seven seasons in the league with the Jets, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent come the start of the new league year, but it shouldn't take much more than he's made the last few seasons to retain him.
While there have been several former Steelers players that have left the organization for a few years only to return to end their career in Pittsburgh, Holmes almost certainly won't be one of them. When they parted with him for a Jets fifth-round draft pick just prior to the 2010 NFL Draft, it was goodbye for good, or least that is what I am willing to bet.
As for the Jets, they are expected to have interest in Emmanuel Sanders when the free agent signing period rolls around. If they wind up signing him, he will likely get a good portion of the money the team saved by releasing Holmes.