Why No Interest In WR Holmes For 49ers?

Santonio Holmes, a star wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the MVP of Super Bowl XLIII, has reportedly been traded to the New York Jets for a fifth round pick in the upcoming draft, the 155th selection overall. The four year veteran out of Ohio State had the best regular season of his career in 2009 with 79 receptions for 1,248 yards and five touchdowns.

You read the above paragraph again and it just doesn't compute. How can someone like Holmes, who at 26 years of age is just now entering his prime, be had almost nothing?

Well, for starters, Holmes is a two-time violator of the league's substance abuse policy, which means that he'll be suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season. He has also recently been accused of throwing a glass at a woman's face in an Orlando nightclub and could be facing more trouble - both with on and off the field - if investigators believe the alleged victim's story.

Holmes has had a number of incidents with the law and according to Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette, the team was so fed up with him that they were prepared to release him outright when the Jets came calling with their pedestrian offer. Also, it has to be mentioned that Holmes is entering the final year of his rookie contract, which significantly lowered his trade value since potential suitors knew that there was a strong chance that he would only be a 12 game rental.

However, with all that being said, it's hard to understand why more teams - and I'm certainly including the 49ers in here - didn't kick the tires on Holmes and explore the idea of trading for him. I realize that the trade between the Steelers and Jets materialized fairly quickly, but there aren't that many secrets in the NFL and other teams had to know that the receiver was there to be had.

Now the 49ers certainly had their share of controversial receivers. Antonio Bryant - he of the orange Lamborghini - didn't work out too well in 2006. Terrell Owens didn't get in trouble off the field, but he sure was a headache on it. Still, guys as gifted as Holmes don't come around very often. If anyone could've gotten him to keep his nose clean and fly straight, especially in a contract year, you'd think it be 49ers coach Mike Singletary.

On the field Holmes' strengths fit the Niners needs perfectly. He's fast, he's great with the ball in his hands, and he's a dangerous punt returner to boot. He could've stretched the field to give Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree room on underneath routes and would've finally given the team a full complement of playmakers on offense.

Wouldn't someone like that be worth at least San Francisco's fifth round pick, which comes ten slots ahead of the one the Jets gave up? Even if it's only for a dozen games, one would figure that Holmes would be more productive than whoever the 49ers will choose with the 145th overall selection this year. Besides, with a scheduled salary of $755,000 this year, it's not like he would've busted the team's budget.

One would think that the Steelers would've preferred to deal Holmes outside of the conference. Seeing him go to Jets for next to nothing makes you wonder if the recent front office shuffle at Santa Clara prevented the team from being in position to inquire about him. I'm sure the topic of Holmes will come up when reporters talk to Director of Player Personnel Trent Baalke next week.


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