Santonio Holmes is staying put, eager to keep catching passes from Mark Sanchez in big games for the next several seasons.
A person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press that the New York Jets have agreed to terms on a five-year deal with the flashy wide receiver, regarded as the top player at his position among this year’s free agents.
Holmes was also considered the Jets’ main priority once the free agency period started Tuesday after the NFL lockout ended after 41/2 months Monday. And, New York went to work quickly on making sure it kept one of Sanchez’s favorite targets.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the deal. General manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan could not confirm or discuss the deal because teams can’t officially sign free agents until Friday.
The Daily News reported the deal was worth almost $50 million, with $24 million guaranteed, and would count only $2.45 million against this year’s cap.
On Twitter, Holmes thanked other players who congratulated him on the deal. He also retweeted a post by fellow Jets free agent Antonio Cromartie, who said: “Congrats to (at)santonio10 on his new deal…that’s what I’m talking abt. Good friend and excellent teammate.”
Holmes later tweeted a photo of himself drinking from a champagne bottle, and said: “Just finish a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal from 2002! Big bro showed love today.”
Holmes, acquired last offseason from Pittsburgh, had 52 catches for 746 yards and six touchdowns for the Jets and re-established himself as the go-to guy he was while with the Steelers. After returning from a four-game suspension to start the season, Holmes quickly developed a rapport with Sanchez, who said Tuesday he was willing to restructure his contract if it helped the Jets go after free agents.