Nov 22, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland (86) runs past New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont

New York Jets News: Santonio Holmes, Jeff Cumberland


The New York Jets always seemed to be mired in some sort of a saga with one of their players, whether it be Tim Tebow, Darrelle Revis, or Santonio Holmes. Tebow is no longer much of an issue, but Revis and Holmes are definitely actual stories from a true football standpoint. Holmes’s saga is more about finance than anything else, and it is one of those rare cases where the athlete holds the leverage in the event.

Holmes is set to make $11 million in base salary next season, which is ridiculous. Now here’s what makes things worse- Holmes is also slated to make $7.5 million in guaranteed money. That means that despite his underachieving ways, cancerous talk, injury last season, and bloated base salary, the New York Jets are still not in a position to release Holmes. The one bright side is that Holmes is the only proven big-play guy on offense, even if the word “proven” is something of a stretch in the eyes of some fans.

According to ESPN New York, the Jets are naturally “insisting” that Santonio Holmes cut his whopping base salary, and the cash-strapped Jets are hoping to shave off a few million dollars of his base salary. The Jets can’t really release him, unless if they wish to dole out money to Holmes for doing nothing. The most amount of money the Jets will pay him is $7.5 million if he does get released, and it will be less than that. If Holmes signs with a team for $4.5 million (for some odd reason), then the Jets will only have to pay $3 million of that- Holmes can’t have it both ways.

This is going to be an interesting scenario to watch, and I would love to hear from you guys. Who holds the leverage here and what should the Jets do in this situation?

The Jets are faced with the possibility of losing starting tight end Dustin Keller, who is Mark Sanchez‘s only safety net and the Jets best pass-catcher. Keller’s backup, Jeff Cumberland caught 29 passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns last season, and the 25-year-old Illinois product has been tendered, per Conor Orr .

Cumberland came into this league as an undrafted free agent, so the fact that the Jets have tendered the TE at the original-round level means that any team can sign Cumberland without compensation. However, the Jets can match any offers for him, but the price of tendering him will cost this team $1.323 million. Keeping Cumberland is crucial for the Jets, because they definitely cannot afford to lose both of their top two tight ends. The Jets seem high on Cumberland, because they were even considering shelling out $2.023 million for the backup TE as a second-round tender. That would have been too much for the financially challenged Jets, but I still doubt we see the potential 2013 starter leaving New York.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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Tags: Dustin Keller Jeff Cumberland New York Jets Santonio Holmes