The 2012/13 season like many before was meant to be the year but amid catastrophic injuries to key components of the team on either side of the ball along with the mismanagement of the roster, highlights were few and far between, come to think of it we're there any? Moving on, there was one positive which I feel Rex Ryan never got the credit he for, he addressed the shortcomings within the secondary from the previous season.
Having seen his team torn apart and out muscled by the Patriots tight end duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, Ryan opted too add a much needed physical presence in the secondary with the addition of safeties, Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry.
Question marks hung over either player prior to the season with many concerned (myself included) that age was going to be a telling factor with Bell, and could Landry play an entire season after opting for alternative medicine on an Achilles injury (stem cell treatment). Landry and Bell combined for an impressive 148 tackles, 1 sack, 2 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles. Landry's impressive season was crowned with a appearance in the Pro-Bowl (the first of his career).
Whilst Landry and Bell performed admirably during the 2012/13 season the Jets find themselves once again at the safety crossroads. Landry's contract was in the region of $3m last year and may prove to be a stumbling block as the Jets find themselves in an unfriendly cap situation. Bell on the other hand may return but age is a concern, fellow safety Eric Smith should and probably will be cut in a bid to create some cap room.
With top free agency prospects Jairus Byrd, William Moore, and Dashon Goldson out of the Jets price range could this point to the Jets and former player Jim Leonhard reuniting? Leonhard has answered any question marks over his health with a successful spell with the Bronco's and is set to hit the free agency market, and could prove to be cap friendly solution to the upcoming problem.
The most likely scenario is for the Jets to resign Bell to another one year deal, along with the restructure of Eric Smiths contract who is set to earn $3m in 2013 (cutting Smith would cost the Jets nothing, whilst adding a cap saving of $3m). Antonio Alllen flashed potential during his rookie season, and could find himself with a greater workload during 2013. The Jets also have Jaiquawn Jarrett (FS) and Bret Lockett (S) signed to future/reserve contracts.
The safety draft class of 2013 hosts some intriguing candidates, (which we'll look at closer to the time) though I expect the Jets address more pressing issues within the roster before focusing their attention on the secondary.