The sound of handcuffs clanging on Braylon Edwards’ wrists around 5:15 yesterday morning was not the kind of metal the Jets were thinking about during preseason.


Another off-field distraction has wasted the Jets’ only on-field success. For all the chest-out chatter of a potential Super Bowl ride, yesterday was a stark reminder this team has just as much potential to derail.


Edwards is the first of a few players with checkered pasts the Jets acquired in the past year. It remains to be seen if he’s the only one to erupt.


Antonio Cromartie, who had to make a summer court appearance for failure to pay child support, and Santonio Holmes, who is serving a suspension for substance abuse, are high-risk, high-reward guys. Then there’s Calvin Pace, who was banned the first four games of last season for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substance ban, and Shaun Ellis, who was arrested on marijuana possession.


All of the sudden, an organization that only had seven arrests over the past decade — well below the NFL average — is being thrown into the same category as bad-boy teams like the Raiders and Bengals.

The actions of Edwards, Cromartie and Holmes off the field are as important to this team as the play of Mark Sanchez, David Harris and Darrelle Revis on it.

Just ask the Giants how quickly a receiver’s run-in with the law can whip a promising season into one they’d like to forget.

The Jets could be sending a weak message by allowing Edwards to dress for Sunday’s game against Miami. After all, another arrest here or an off-field incident there and you’re looking at an unfocused team in complete chaos. And that’s something not even a flurry of Rex Ryan F-bombs can fix.