Braylon Edwards Traded to New York Jets

Published on: 7th October, 2009

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New York — The New York Jets reached an agreement with the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday to acquire troubled but talented wide receiver Braylon Edwards.

The Jets sent wide receiver Chansi Stuckey, linebacker Jason Trusnik and undisclosed draft choices to the Browns for the deep threat they had been lacking. Edwards will combine with Jerricho Cotchery to give rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez two proven playmakers as starting wide receivers.

Edwards, in his fifth season, has 10 receptions for 139 yards but was held to no catches for the first time in his career in the winless Browns’ 23-20 overtime loss to Cincinnati on Sunday. His best season came in 2006, when he had 80 catches for 1,289 yards and 16 touchdowns.

It’s the second major trade the Jets have made with the Browns and Eric Mangini, their former coach. On the first day of the draft in April, New York acquired the fifth overall pick from Cleveland to select Sanchez for its first-round pick, its second-rounder (No. 52), and defensive end Kenyon Coleman, safety Abram Elam and quarterback Brett Ratliff.

Stuckey, who won the No. 2 receiver spot opposite Cotchery out of training camp, has 11 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. He was a seventh-round draft pick out of Clemson in 2007, but missed his first season with a foot injury. Stuckey had 32 receptions last season, catching three touchdown passes from Brett Favre.

Trusnik, signed as an undrafted free agent out of Ohio Northern in 2007, is a special teams ace and backup linebacker. He was selected as the AFC’s special teams player of the week last week after forcing and recovering a fumble on a kickoff in the Jets’ 24-17 win over Tennessee.

Edwards will make his Jets debut on Monday night against the Dolphins, said general manager Mike Tannenbaum, who is banking that a change of scenery will do for Edwards what it did for defensive tackle Kris Jenkins.

“Sometimes a fresh start does a lot of people good,” said Tannenbaum. “We can look at (tackle) Wayne Hunter and Kris Jenkins. I think they came here and they exceeded our expectations with a fresh start.

“As I told Braylon this morning, let’s learn from what happened in Cleveland. Today is a new day and a new team.”

Edwards is expected to arrive at the Jets’ Florham Park complex Wednesday afternoon.

Tannenbaum said the team did it’s “due diligence” in investigating Edwards’ off-the-field incidents and are convinced he’s not the bad guy he has been painted as. He’s under investigation by the league for an incident on Sunday in which he’s accused of punching a friend of Cavaliers star LeBron James at a night spot. Edwards is not expected to be suspended although Tannenbaum said he has no assurances from the league.

Edwards appeared to reach a breaking point under the first-year Browns coach Eric Mangini. He has been fined several times by Mangini and is one of several players to have filed a grievance with the league over the fines handed down to players, according to someone with knowledge of the situation but who is not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.

Also, there’s speculation that Edwards is the player who was fined $1,701 for drinking a bottle of water in his hotel room without paying for it.

As for the incident on Sunday, a member of Edwards’ entourage — not him — threw the punch, according to someone with knowledge of the situation but who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly about the incident.

Edwards, 26, is in the final year of his contract, but Tannenbaum said the team has no intention of signing him to a new deal this season. In fact, it would make little sense for Braylon to sign a new deal with him coming off a sub-par season and off to a rough start this season with just 10 catches for 139 yards and no touchdowns. He didn’t catch a pass last week against the Bengals.

Under the league’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement, Edwards would be only a restricted, not unrestricted free agent, in 2010.

The deal comes as a surprise and proves all the talk from the Jets about being happy with their wide receivers was just that — talk. At 6-3, 215 pounds, Edwards gives the Jets a receiver with size and playmaking ability to line up opposite Jerricho Cotchery, who has enjoyed a strong start to the season.

“We’re excited to get Braylon,” said Tannenbaum. “It (wide receiver) is a position we liked but it was also a position we felt if there was an opportunity to improve we would go ahead and do that.”

Tannenbaum revealed that talks with the Browns regarding Edwards have been ongoing.

“The lines of communication have been open for a while and finally last night we were able to work something out that made sense for them and for us.”

Tannenbaum’s words echoed those of Mangini, the former Jets coach.

“We had an opporunity to make this trade,” Mangini said, “and it created something that was good for both us and the player.”

Edwards had 228 career receptions for 3,558 yards and 28 touchdowns entering this season. He was picked third overall by the Browns in 2005 out of Michigan.

But for all of his talent, Edwards has been prone to drops throughout his career. Since 2007, he is tied for most in the NFL with 30.

Now, the Browns might have supplied the rookie quarterback’s primary target as well.

 

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