The Santonio Holmes era in Pittsburgh is over. The Pittsburgh Steelers have traded Holmes to the New York Jets in exchange for a 5th round pick in 2010.
ESPN 1050 in New York first reported the story Sunday night. An official announcement from the Steelers is not expected until Monday morning.
The Steelers host the Jets for a regular season game in 2010.
Holmes, the Steelers 2006 1st round pick, had one year left on his contract and had recently been accused of throwing a glass at a woman in an Orlando night club. Holmes actions off the field has led to the Steelers shipping him out of town.
In recent weeks, the Steelers organization has become furious over Holmes antics on twitter. Continued drug use and a fear of it continuing is believed to have diminshed any trade value Holmes had.
A return of a 5th round pick has drawn shock around the NFL but the Steelers clearly came to the point where they didn’t want Holmes associated with the organization anymore.
Holmes the Super Bowl XLIII MVP, had a career season in 2009, catching 79 passes for 1,248 yards and 5 touchdowns. Holmes has 235 receptions in four seasons with the Steelers.
During the Steelers end of the season press conference, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert called Holmes a priority to retain after the season, indicating the two sides would speak following the draft but Holmes off the field problems became too much of a burden for the organization.
The Steelers have brought in 6 wide receivers for pre-draft visits, including first round prospects Dez Bryant and Golden Tate. The Steelers are very high on Tate, conducting an extensive meeting with Tate during the combine.
A league source says Holmes camp did not see the trade coming and learned about the trade around 10:30 p.m.
2nd year wide out Mike Wallace becomes the front runner to replace Holmes as a starter and an opportunity has opened up for Limas Sweed to prove himself that will begin immediately in OTA’s.
There are still some in the organization who believe Sweed can still turn his career around as it normally takes wide receivers three years to develop.
Veterans wide receivers Antwaan Randle El and Arnaz Battle were signed as free agents in the off-season to provide depth at the position.
Randle El was brought in as the No. 4 receiver, while Battle who had 5 receptions last season was signed for his special teams abilities.