In a stunning deal struck at close to midnight last night, the Jets acquired former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes from the Steelers in exchange for a fifth-round pick in next week's draft.
Holmes will face a four game suspention at the beginning of next season for violation of the league's substance abuse policy, the NFL said on Monday.
Holmes, a first-round pick of the Steelers in 2006, made the winning touchdown reception in Super Bowl XLIII. He caught nine passes for 131 yards and the TD, which came with 35 seconds left against the Cardinals.
Despite the wide receiver's brilliant play, his legal problems played a major role in his ouster from the Steelers. He faces a civil suit from a woman who accused him of throwing a drink at her at an Orlando nightclub March 7. He reportedly faces a four-game suspension for a possible violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy.
Holmes, 26, was arrested in October 2008 in Pittsburgh and was cited by officers for possession of marijuana. He was suspended by coach Mike Tomlin for one game but returned to play the rest of the season, capping it in the Super Bowl.
The Jets declined comment late last night on the trade, but a league source confirmed that the team will send a fifth-round pick to the Steelers in this year's draft.
It's the second major trade of the offseason by the Jets, who earlier acquired Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who also has legal problems. Cromartie has been hit with at least five paternity suits in the last two years. He told reporters last month he has seven children in five states, although he indicated he has worked out financial arrangements for child support.
Holmes addresses a need at receiver for the Jets, who wanted to add another target for second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez. Starters Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards return, but the Jets wanted to add depth at the position. They certainly have a breakaway threat in Holmes, who made a career-high 79 catches for 1,248 yards and five TDs last season.
The Jets began their receiver upgrade last season when they acquired Edwards in a trade from the Browns. He is a restricted free agent, although he hopes to receive a long-term extension from the Jets.