As expected, New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum announced on Wednesday that wide receiver Santonio Holmes has been placed on season-ending injured reserve. The veteran receiver and Super Bowl XLIII Most Valuable Player sustained a Lisfranc injury to his left foot at the start of the fourth quarter in Sunday's 34-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Signed to a five-year, $45 million contract following the lockout and named a team captain by head coach Rex Ryan before the start of the 2011 regular season, Holmes caught 51 passes for 654 yards and eight touchdowns in '11 but was benched during the second half of the Jets' regular-season finale as teammates claimed he quit on the club.
Despite those allegations, Holmes remained on the roster, perhaps due to the $7.75 million in fully guaranteed base salary he was due in 2012. However, by keeping Holmes on the roster five days into the 2012 waiver period, which began right after Super Bowl XLVI, $7.5 million of Holmes' $11 million base salary in 2013 became fully guaranteed. That large financial guarantee may not be enough to preserve Holmes' spot on the roster moving forward as the Jets would save $3.75 million in cash (the non-guaranteed portion of his base salary plus a $250,000 workout bonus) and 2013 cap space by releasing Holmes in the offseason.
According to a source with knowledge of NFL cap space, the Jets have nearly $142 million in salary cap commitments in 2013, though $12 million of that total is from the acquired contract of offensive tackle Jason Smith which will void before the 2013 league year officially begins. With the cap expected to remain flat (around $121 million), the Jets may need to free up additional room.
Through four games, Holmes has team highs with 41 targets, 20 receptions and 272 receiving yards, adding one touchdown.
To replace Holmes, the Jets have signed veteran wide receiver Jason Hill to an undisclosed contract. A 2007 third-round pick out of Washington State by the San Francisco 49ers, Hill has 76 receptions for 1,028 yards and eight touchdowns in a 50-game career with the 49ers and Jacksonville Jaguars, where he spent part of the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Hill made headlines last September when he attempted to trash-talk Jets All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Hill went to training camp with the Denver Broncos in 2012, catching four passes for 35 yards and a touchdown but was released prior to the start of the regular season. Hill has a very minor connection to Jets' receivers coach Sanjay Lal, who was in the same position with the 2011 Oakland Raiders when Hill was brought in for a tryout last Dec. 27.
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