Everyone knew that re-signing Santonio Holmes would be the Jets' first priority of the free agency period. Now we know that Holmes felt the same way about the Jets.
The team agreed to terms with their top wide receiver on a five-year deal Wednesday, ensuring a much-needed level of continuity on offense. The deal reportedly guarantees Holmes $24 million over the life of the contract, a reasonable figure for a player who made Mark Sanchez look a lot better once he joined the team in a trade from the Steelers.
Holmes's signing can't be made official until Friday, but Braylon Edwards has already tweeted some congratulations to his 2010 teammate. The chances of their playing together this season as well might not be great as Holmes's signing vaults Edwards up the list of available receivers.
The Holmes signing is important on two fronts. The first is the obvious fact that having him on the offense makes the Jets a better team than they would be with anyone else and that Sanchez can now move forward without having to adapt to a different top wideout.
The other factor to consider is that having Holmes back in the fold allows the Jets to progress with the rest of their shopping with the knowledge of what Holmes will cost them. That makes it easier to talk terms with other players.
None of those other players is quite so intriguing as the cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, late of the Raiders. Asomugha is the only cornerback in football who can be legitimately compared to Darrelle Revis in terms of the way they shut down opposing passing games and the thought of teaming the two of them up in the secondary likely has Rex Ryan's mouth watering more than if the world's biggest steak was on a plate in front of him.
The team has been talking to Asomugha, discussions that are being deemed serious by observers around the league, and it might be more than Ryan's defense calling him to New York. Asomugha, a very telegenic personality who has a large philanthropic profile, is reportedly very interested in going somewhere that helps him establish a post-playing career as an actor or media personality.
There's no better place than that for New York (assuming you aren't Tiki Barber, of course) and the Jets would be wise to use that for their advantage. As long as football is still his top current priority, Asomugha could want to come to New York for the proximity to Nathan's and he'd be welcomed with open arms.
If the Jets land Asomugha in addition to Holmes, still a big if at this hour, you can easily see them becoming the destination of choice for free agents looking to make a run at the Super Bowl. Ryan is a popular coach among players and the team would be looking just as strong, if not stronger, than it did in their trips to the last two AFC Championship Games.
That's speculative at this point. All we know is that Holmes is back with the Jets and that the free agency period is off to a very good start.