The team finished 6-10, earning them a seat on the couch for the postseason for the second consecutive year, as well as a top ten draft pick for the first time since they went 4-12 in the 2007 season.
Safety LaRon Landry had a strong individual season, his first in New York. He made the Pro Bowl for the first time, and more importantly, he avoided the injury bug that’s plagued him throughout his six-year career.
Landry is one of a few prominent free agents for the Jets, a list that also includes their starting tight end Dustin Keller, key defensive lineman Mike DeVito, and both starting guards, Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson.
The safety position as a whole is a difficult position to find. There are only a select few around the league that are truly good at what they do. Landry will certainly have his fair share of suitors when he hits the open market.
Thanks to the language in his contract, the Jets cannot tag Landry as their franchise player, meaning it would likely take a multi-year extension to keep him from hitting unrestricted free agency in March.
I don’t believe Landry is necessarily the best safety available, provided Jairus Byrd of the Buffalo Bills hits the open market as well. That being said, it’s not hard to imagine multiple teams vying for Landry’s services.
The Jets are in a bit of a salary cap crunch, and it’s not inconceivable to think that Landry could be out of their price range when other bidders set the market for him next month. Landry may find himself elsewhere in 2013.
As well as he played in 2012, it’s probably unwise for the Jets to commit long-term to a player who’s been injury prone for most of his career. Fellow safety Yeremiah Bell is also a free agent, but he’ll likely be more affordable.
If the Jets bring back Bell and not Landry, they could hand the reigns to second-year man Antonio Allen, who had an uneven rookie season but seemed to find his footing as the year went on. Josh Bush is another option.
It’s hard to forecast exactly what the Jets’ defensive backfield will look like in 2013, but it’s been a bit of a revolving door at the safety spot ever since Rex Ryan came aboard as head coach in 2009.
Next season, it could be more of the same. Only time will tell if Landry will be back in the fold in 2013.