According to a report from ESPN New York, the Jets have opted not to re-sign veteran free agent safety Jim Leonhard. The report cites “league sources” and also adds that Leonhard could return if there is an injury at the safety position.
Leonhard is currently recovering from knee surgery and coming off of his second season with a major injury. His 2011 season ended early when he injured his patellar tendon in December; in 2010 he broke his leg in practice.
Many would argue the writing was on the wall for Leonhard after the Jets added two new starting strong safeties this off-season – LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell – to a roster that also includes everyone’s favorite punching bag, Eric Smith, and rookies Josh Bush and Antonio Allen.
Given the crowded roster, along with Leonhard’s age and injury history, this decision is understandable. But the question is, can anyone one of these players replace what Leonhard brought to the defense cerebrally? That certainly remains to be seen. We also do not yet know the status of LaRon Landry. What if Landry is not ready to play Week 1?
Despite the report, I am not completely going to rule out the possibility of Leonhard returning. There is a history between Leonhard and Rex, and with Landry being a question mark, this may not be the end of the road. Of course, the like-able Leonhard could easily be signed by another team…
Cue Belichick signing Leonhard in 3,2,1…..