Edwards headed to Jets
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Braylon Edwards went home frustrated way too many times, tired of all of the losing in Cleveland.
"It can definitely take the joy out of the game," the New York Jets' new wide receiver said Wednesday. "It weighs on you."
Well, Edwards got the change of scenery he wanted, and the Jets now have the deep-threat target they sorely needed.
"Coming here to a team that's doing well with a new head coach that has them going in the right direction and just freeing myself of the situation and coming to another situation," Edwards said, "I think it's a fresh start and a clean slate."
The deal was first reported by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
The Jets dealt wide receiver Chansi Stuckey, linebacker Jason Trusnik and two undisclosed draft choices in return for Edwards. The former Pro Bowl selection provides rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez with an established game-changing talent to complement Jerricho Cotchery.
According to an NFL source, the Jets gave up draft picks in the third and fifth rounds in the deal, Schefter reported. The third-round pick is a conditional pick and could turn into a second-round pick if Edwards catches a certain number of passes this season. That is said to be a high number, but if Edwards, the No. 3 pick in the 2005 draft, lights it up in New York the way the Jets are hoping, the Browns then would get a second-round pick in return.
"He's shown on film to just make great catches," Sanchez said. "Whether the ball is behind him, over his head, he has to dive, they're all catches. I'm not planning on throwing anything too far out of reach."
Edwards was expected to practice for the first time Thursday, and coach Rex Ryan said he'll start in the team's next game at Miami on Monday night.
"I've had to defend against him twice a year in Baltimore, and that's not fun," Ryan said. "He is a matchup nightmare."
Edwards, in his fifth season, comes with lots of baggage. He has been involved in a number of off-field incidents, including a nightclub fight early Monday, but Ryan said he consulted with people he trusts; his twin brother, Rob, is the Browns' defensive coordinator.
"We're confident with the player on the field and off the field," he said.
The NFL is investigating whether Edwards violated the league's conduct policy following accusations he punched promoter Edward Givens, a friend of NBA star LeBron James, following an argument in downtown Cleveland. Police are also looking into the incident.
Although Edwards hasn't been charged with a crime, the NFL's conduct policy states that discipline may be imposed for "the use or threat of violence."
Edwards declined to discuss the situation, saying it's a legal matter, but realizes his character has come into question because of other off-field incidents.
"At the end of the day, who I am, who I believe I am and who I know am is a great guy," he said. "I think things get blown out of proportion at times."
Edwards has 10 receptions for 139 yards, but was shut out for the first time in his career in the winless Browns' 23-20 overtime loss to Cincinnati on Sunday. His best season came in 2007, when he had 80 catches for 1,289 yards and 16 touchdowns.
"It's definitely all of me that wants to go out there and do it week-in and week-out," Edwards said. "I believe I'm in a place now where I can do that."
His presence is expected to open things up for the running game, which has been inconsistent, and remove double teams from Cotchery, who's off to a terrific start with 23 catches.
"I know he's going to add something great to this offense," Cotchery said. "We've got to smile about that because he's a great player and he's going to demand a lot of attention."
The Jets, off to a 3-1 start under Ryan, were looking to replace Laveranues Coles in the starting lineup since allowing him to become a free agent in the offseason. They looked into former Giants star Plaxico Burress' legal status before the draft, and were mentioned in possible trade talks for Denver's Brandon Marshall.
"I think he's going to fit right in with our group," Ryan said.
Edwards has taken some criticism for his propensity for dropping passes and lapses in concentration.
"Is he going to catch every pass that's thrown to him? No," Ryan said. "But, he's going to catch enough of them and he's going to make a lot of difference."
Edwards has a year remaining on his contract, but the Jets had no immediate plans to sign him to a new deal during this season.
"They have a machine moving in the right direction," he said, "so to sit here and talk about a contract would be pretty petty."
Edwards found out about the trade early Wednesday morning from Browns coach Eric Mangini and was at the Jets' training facility just a few hours later. He showed up shortly after practice ended, just in time to be included in the team picture.
"A couple of guys cracked on the pants I had on," said Edwards, who already knows several of the Jets players. "I took that as a good sign."
Mangini wouldn't say if Edwards' alleged altercation, which came hours after he failed to catch a pass for the first time in 62 career NFL games, played a part in the timing of his trade.
He didn't have to.
"Personal conduct is important to me," Mangini said.
Mangini said Edwards did not ask to be traded and that they had a good conversation before parting ways.
"This is a fresh start for him," Mangini said. "In terms of what we were able to do with the trade, it's good for us."
This is the second major deal Mangini has struck with the Jets, who fired him in January after three years as their head coach. On draft day, Mangini sent them the No. 5 pick, which they used to draft Sanchez.
Before dealing Edwards, Mangini said he discussed the move with owner Randy Lerner. He also said the Browns had other opportunities to move Edwards.
"Contrary to popular belief, we do trade with teams other than the Jets, and we do talk to teams other than the Jets," he said. "You move forward based on that."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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