With the start of free agency looming, the New York Jets need safety help, and could pick up a familiar face from the past.
The Jets are rumored to have interest in safety Jim Leonhard, who played with the Jets from 2009-2011, most recently playing for the Denver Broncos last season. Leonhard has a great relationship with head coach Rex Ryan, and does play smash-mouth defense that the Jets like to play, so it could be a good fit.
Leonhard is coming off of a disappointing season, finishing the 2012-2013 year with a solemn 18 total combined tackles, and two interceptions. He played in all 16 games, but these are numbers that Leonhard is not accustomed too.
When Leonhard was on the Jets, he played a more prominent role, as evident through his statistics. In the 2010 season, Leonhard only played in 11 games due to injury, but racked up 61 combined tackles, 57 of them solo. The same scenario occurred during the 2011 season, Leonhard only played in 13 games, but still put up a respectable 48 combined tackles, 38 of them coming from solo take downs. In 2009, in his first year with the Jets, Leonhard had 76 combined tackles.
Based on the statistics, Leonhard was more of a factor with the Jets than he was with the Buffalo Bills, the Baltimore Ravens, or the Broncos. A huge part of that is the fact that he was in his prime during his tenure with the gang green, but he can absolutely still be a factor in the Jets defense.
Realistically, threes is no telling whether this is a practical option for the Jets at this time or not, but this does make sense. Ryan loves Leonhard, and even though he’s 30, he can still play some valuable downs for the green & white. The Jets are limited with their cap space during free agency, so they have to be very selective, but they do need safety help with LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell likely to make their way out. The Jets will definitely pick up some safeties, so why not Leonhard?