The curtain officially has closed on ToneTime's act with the Jets. They released Santonio Holmes Monday, ending the controversial wide receiver's career in green and white.
In the past two days, general manager John Idzik let go cornerback Antonio Cromartie and Holmes, clearing $17.75 million in salary-cap space.
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Holmes caught 146 passes for 2,128 yards and 16 touchdowns in 43 games with the Jets.
"I appreciate Tone's contributions over the last four seasons,'' Rex Ryan said in a statement issued by the team. "I've always admired his knack for making the clutch play. He's a tremendous competitor who wants the ball in his hands when the game is on the line. I wish him nothing but the best.''
Although the Jets are desperate for playmakers on offense, it was obvious that Holmes wouldn't be a part of the equation in 2014 despite saying he'd be willing to "sacrifice'' a portion of his salary to stick around. Holmes, who turned 30 March 3, agreed to restructure his contract last offseason, lowering his base salary from $11 million to $7.5 million. He was due to make $8.25 million this season.
With Holmes set to receive a $1-million roster bonus this week, it was a matter of when, not if, he would be released.
The Jets acquired Holmes, a first-round pick of the Steelers in 2006, for a fifth-round pick in 2010. The move by former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum, only days after the league announced Holmes would be suspended for the season's first four games for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, turned out to be a smart one.
But Tannenbaum has admitted he made a mistake giving Holmes a five-year, $45.25-million contract in 2011.
Although he helped the Jets reach their second consecutive AFC Championship Game in 2010, Holmes may be remembered best for his "me-first" attitude. Ryan made him a team captain, but Holmes' personality wore thin with some teammates. The bad blood reached a tipping point during the 2011 season finale in Miami, when Holmes argued with teammates on the field and spent the final minutes sitting alone on the bench.
Controversy followed him the next year. His 2012 season was cut short by a Lisfranc injury in the fourth game. After hurting his foot on a catch and falling, Holmes threw the ball directly at a 49er and it was returned for a touchdown.
Despite missing the 2013 training camp with an injury, Holmes started in Week 1 and had a breakout game against the Bills in Week 3, catching five passes for 154 yards and a TD. But he soon was plagued by injury again, a nagging hamstring problem that cost him five games.