New York Jets: Sorting out the Secondary

By Raymond Mencke
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets have decided on their general manager and John Idzik has a lot of decision to make on the roster.  One of the few strengths of the 2012 New York Jets was the play of the secondary.  This unit of the team could look very different next season.

The starting safeties, Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry, are both unrestricted free agents.  Landry will prove to be very difficult to sign as he should get a big contract after a Pro Bowl season.  He started all sixteen games while making 99 tackles, forcing four fumbles and intercepting two passes.  Bell should be easier to re-sign and he proved an upgrade over the previous safeties while racking up 89 tackles and a sack.

Antonio Cromartie filled the void left by the loss of Darrelle Revis by making his first Pro Bowl as a Jet.  He proved he could be a shutdown corner while making three interceptions and showing a more willingness to tackle this year.  He’s signed through 2014 but I feel the Jets should see what they could get in a trade for him as his value won’t be any higher.

Kyle Wilson had the best season of his pro career while starting 15 games opposite Cromartie.  The former first round pick from Boise State is signed through next season and should start next year depending on Cromartie or Revis leaving.

The story of the offseason is going to be the contract situation with Revis.  Revis wants to be one of the highest paid players in the league, let alone cornerbacks.  He’s the Jets’ best player so it’s difficult to move him but no team can afford to pay a cornerback $15 or $16 million a year.  The Jets have reportedly shown a willingness to move him.  I don’t believe he will be on the team next year.

Antonio Allen or Josh Bush could nab a starting safety spot depending on what happens with Bell and Landry.  Allen was drafted by the team last year out of South Carolina while Bush was drafted from Wake Forest.  Allen played seven games picking up one sack, one fumble recovery and six tackles.  Bush had 11 tackles on the year.

Former starter Eric Smith could become a cap casualty this offseason.  Smith continues to be abused in pass coverage and is not a favorite of Jets fans.  He would become an unrestricted free agent after next season but the team could save $3 million if they cut him this offseason.  I wouldn’t expect him to come back unless he takes a pay cut.

Fringe players like Donnie Fletcher, Ellis Lankster, Aaron Berry, Darrin Walls, Royce Adams and Isaiah Trufant round out the roster.  Berry is a former starter for the Detroit Lions but he didn’t see much time on defense before getting hurt late in the year.  Trufant and Lankster will most likely be back.

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