Remembering The Trade Of Santonio Holmes To The Jets Four Years Ago

It was four years ago Saturday that the Pittsburgh Steelers traded away wide receiver Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets for a measly fifth-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, but that trade couldn’t have worked out any better.

Holmes, who was about to enter into the final year of his rookie contract at that time, was facing a four game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. On top of that, the former first-round draft pick out of Ohio State was also facing a lawsuit in Florida at that time from a woman who claimed Holmes threw a glass at her in an Orlando nightclub.

While the Steelers only were able to get a fifth-round draft pick for Holmes, they were probably ecstatic to even get that as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported at that time that the team was prepared to release Holmes outright if they couldn’t find a trade partner.

During the draft that followed the trade, the Steelers traded that fifth-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for cornerback Bryant McFadden and a sixth-round pick that they ultimately used to select wide receiver Antonio Brown out of Central Michigan.

McFadden, who was a former Steelers draft pick himself in 2005, had just completed a disappointing season with Cardinals in 2009 and he returned to Pittsburgh to start all 16 regular season games in 2010. While he was a liability in coverage during that season, McFadden did post a career-high in tackles (81) and intercepted two passes while forcing two fumbles.

As for Brown, his story is still being written. As a rookie in 2010, he only registered 16 catches for 167 yards, but he followed that up in 2011 by making history when he became the first NFL player to compile both 1,000 yards receiving and 1,000 total return yards in the same season. His efforts earned him team MVP honors as well as his first Pro Bowl selection.

In 2013, Brown became the first player in NFL history to finish a regular season with at least five catches and 50 receiving yards in every regular-season game and he also set a new franchise single-season receiving yardage record. He finished the season second in the league in both receptions (110) and receiving yardage (1,499), and earned a second trip to the Pro Bowl and another team MVP award for his efforts.

As for Holmes, he was released by the Jets last month after a second straight injury-plagued season. While he did sign a five-year, $45 million contract in 2011, he registered just 146 catches for 2,128 and 16 touchdowns in 43 games played in during his four seasons in New York. He is currently a street free agent just five years after being named MVP of Super Bowl XLIII.

  • Rob H

    I remember being surprised at the time that they couldn’t get a better pick for him, but I had no problem with it, I also remember that you had the usual people all losing their mind over it, most likely the same ones losing their minds over who we lost this year.

  • CW

    I remember all sorts of fans from other teams laughing about that trade at the time saying that the Steelers had lost their minds. I remember experts saying that the Jets clearly won that trade deal while probably snicking about how stupid the Steelers were being off camera.

    Then Holmes imploded as I’m pretty sure the Steelers management figured out he was about to do. The Steelers turned a fifth round pick into a veteran cornerback with a little gas left in the tank and a great wide receiver in Antonio Brown, and nobody is laughing anymore.

    Jets fans probably feel robbed at this point.

  • Brian Miller

    I would imagine Jet fans are in a constant state of misery, torment, and just outright disgust…and it doesn’t help to have obnoxious Giant fans that have won 2 superbowls recently in your own home town too!

  • Jollyrob68

    Wondering if The Steelers might think about trading Pouncey to Jacksonville since he’s in the last year of his rookie deal and Jacksonville is looking for a Veteran Center? The #39 pick would do nicely.

  • CW

    Probably that’s the case. Especially when you consider that Fireman Ed, or is it Fred, quit being a Jets fan like two years ago after watching his team implode yet again.

  • Steve

    Wouldn’t let Pouncy get away just yet. Has things to prove and you don’t kick a dog when their down, else you get bit.

  • Maureen A Gomes

    I’ll be truthful. I was mortified when I found out about this trade back then. I definitely felt like the Steelers should have received at least a 2nd round pick for him. I knew about the 4 game suspension but, at the time of the trade, I seem to recall that there were other off the field issues going on with other Steeler players (Ben?) which may have cemented the Steelers’ desire to stop the bleeding of their reputation and pull the trigger on this trade. I will have to research this further so I can explain it better.
    I couldn’t be happier with the result as I’m very proud of AB. We can argue all we want about his pointing the ball to signal a first down (Hines, who I love, used to do it too!) and running backwards into the end zone on a return that was called back but I love his confidence, his leadership and his productivity.

  • LouPGH

    I would make that trade given our long term cap situation.

  • stairman

    one word: Humble, these guys on their way up begin to think there the best, and their heads swell wider then their shoulder pads. In all reality if they had stayed hungry and humble, they could of flourished with the steeler organization.Holmes and Wallace are great examples, just ask some of the more recent players who were lucky enough to leave and come back.

  • Hard Row

    The other side is maybe the Steelers win the Super Bowl if they had kept Santonio and just let him walk after his contract was up. The SB was close and maybe one more playmaker like Santonio could have been the difference.

    They ended up with Antonio Brown because of the trade but if the Steelers really liked him, they likely still would have gotten him, just with a different pick.

  • Colbert was very smart.

  • Doni609

    Send him back to FL. He seems to like doing stupid things down on South Beach with his bonehead brother.

  • TheLets

    Well, there’s that. But then you guys are stuck living in Pittsburgh.

  • Brian Miller

    nope…try Texas tough guy…

  • From a Jets perspective the trade worked out fine and Holmes was a key part of the team that faced you guys in that season’s AFC Championship Game. The mistake we made was in then re-signing him to a big contract as a free agent.

  • Randy Neff

    What was key in that game was that Holmes was missing in action for the final 27 minutes of the game.

  • I find it hard to place too much blame on anything that happened in the second half of that game for us.

  • Brendon Glad

    The only thing that kept me from flipping out about that trade (namely what we received) was my steadfast trust in the organization (particularly with evaluation of their own personnel). Sure, I may complain about drafts just like the next guy, but by gosh we rarely make a mistake when we let someone go. Almost never. And this was a classic example of that.