Holmes contract a tough escape

UPDATE: Further clarification on potential salary-cap hits.

The Jets made Santonio Holmes their marquee free-agent signing last offseason, retaining him with a five-year, $45 million contract.

Now they could be stuck with him because of an unusual clause in the contract.

Holmes is due a fully guaranteed $7.75 million in base pay for 2012, according to a person familiar with the contract. In addition, if he's on the Jets' roster on the second day of the waiver period (Feb. 8), more than half of his 2013 salary becomes guaranteed -- specifically, $7.5 million of $11 million.

So, basically, the Jets have to decide before Feb. 8 if they're willing to lock into Holmes for $15.25 million in guaranteed money. If they're okay with committing that much, it's like saying you're signing up for two more years of Holmes.

If they cut him before Feb. 8, they'd still owe him $7.75 million and they'd take a $12.5 million cap hit in 2012 -- more than $3 million more than it would cost to have him on the roster.

So it came as no surprise Monday when Rex Ryan said he expects to have Holmes back in 2012. A trade is out of the question, because the trading period opens at the start of the league in early March, and it would be hard to deal that contract.