After wearing the famous No. 1 jersey at Michigan, Braylon Edwards has only worn one number as a professional — No. 17. He wore it with the Browns, then with the Jets and then in stints in San Francisco and Seattle. So, when the Jets claimed Edwards off waivers from the Seahawks this week, one assumed he’d keep his digits. The only problem being rookie wideout Jordan White, who’s worn No. 17 since the Jets drafted him in the seventh round in April.
But Jets fans dusting off their No. 17 Edwards have nothing to worry about, the rookie is happy to give the veteran his number, even though no one on the team asked him to give it up.
Kristian Dyer wrote about it yesterday in Metro New York:
“It was something I wanted to do and the number meant much more to him than me,” White said. “I was glad to give it to him. They didn’t have to ask and they didn’t. I was happy to do it. If I was a veteran in the league and had worn that number, I’d want it to.”
It’s a savvy, and respectful, move for the rookie, but it’s no secret that number exchanges often come attached to player-to-player compensation. Sometimes, the dollar figures can reach staggering prices, but White’s not looking for money — well, not exactly.
“I am thinking maybe dinner and some shout outs [on Twitter]. Something like that,” White said. “Also maybe some stupid crap, like something you see in SkyMall magazine. You know, stuff that you don’t need and you wonder, ‘Who buys this stuff in Sky Mall?’ but you really want it. Something obnoxious, ridiculous things you don’t need.”
“Maybe a 40-foot reindeer blowup. I saw that on there too. That’s something I’d never buy. I might go with that. We’ll see what he says.”
Corey Griffin, theJetsBlog.comI think we all want a 40-foot blowup reindeer at some point in our lives, but good for White having some fun with it. I’ll be interested to see if we hear anything more about this down the line — or if White suddenly has a blow-up Santa Clause in front of his locker next week.
What I’m more interested to see — or not see, realistically speaking — is how much White and Stephen Hill pick Edwards’ brain over the next three weeks (or however long Edwards stays). Wide receiver is one of the toughest positions for a rookie to make an impact because of all the little things required to be a successful NFL wideout. Young receivers have to learn the intricacies of not tipping anything at the line of scrimmage, how to run crisp routes and how to subtly use your hands to defuse a cornerback’s attempts to slow you down. For all that Edwards might do on game day the rest of the season, it’ll be what he offers in the meeting rooms, practice fields and sidelines that help guys like White and Hill adjust to the NFL.
Hill, in particular, stands to learn the most from Edwards. In fact, it’s why I would have liked the Jets to bring Edwards into camp this offseason to help take some of the burden off Hill in the vertical passing game. Hill’s combination of size and speed makes him eerily similar to Edwards, including both players’ tendency to lose focus and drop passes. And while I haven’t been the biggest fan of bringing in Edwards in this situation, I wouldn’t mind giving him a one-year deal to come back next year to see what he can do.