For much of the last year the Patriots have pillaged Ex-Jets from the free agent markets at a remarkable rate. Danny Woodhead, James Ihedigbo, and former Pat killer Shaun Ellis have all left Gang Green, and the Jets have not acquired any former prized Pat’s in return. With the news coming out yesterday that the Patriots had cut safety Brandon Meriweather, this must change.
Meriweather, a two time pro bowler, was a major part in the Patriots secondary last year with 68 tackles and 3 picks. He was a major piece of the defensive puzzle for the Pats, and was only released due to repeated off the field incidents that don’t sit too well with Belicheat and the rest of the Patriots front office. Meriweather was involved in an off-season shooting this year, a case in which he was eventually cleared, as well as an overabundance of other police incidents. It also didn’t help that he had a reputation as a dirty player thanks to several vicious helmet-to-helmet hits, notably the one he had on Todd Heap, which was a main cause of the NFL implicating the new policy on hits to the head.
However while the Patriots see a head case with too many off the field incidents, for the Jets, I don’t think off the field incidents really matter that much, think Plaxico Burress, and Santonio Holmes. Forgetting the fact that signing Meriweather would be a great way to get back at the Patriots, the Jets could also really use him. The Jets secondary right now consists of, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, Marquice Cole, Donald Strickland, Eric Smith, Jim Leonhard, Brodney Pool, Emanuel Cook, and Isiah Trufant. Having a pro bowl safety who is a hard hitter, but still holds up in coverage, who also has intimate knowledge of the Patriots defensive schemes, is much better then a triumvirate of Eric Smith, Brodney Pool, and Emanuel Cook, at the second safety spot. Meriweather’s a hard hitter, just like Eric Smith, but he is heaps better then Smith in coverage, and is also much quicker and more athletic. Having a secondary of Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Jim Leonhard, and Brandon Meriweather is a tremendous improvement over their current secondary, character issues be damned! When Cromartie gets beat deep instead of having to rely on very slow Eric Smith, or the host of other mediocre backup safeties, wouldn’t it be nice to have a former pro bowler, who is hard hitting and can get to the ball quickly?
Since Meriweather was cut he obviously wouldn’t command a high salary, and the Jets have cap flexibility as is so they can get the deal done. More importantly is the fact that signing meriweather would give the Jets peace of mind. Starting safety Jim Leonhard is coming off of a broken leg, a very tough injury to recover from. Even though he has still looked solid in camp you never know when he could have a set back injury wise. Losing Leonhard with the current line up would be catastrophic. If the Jets went out and signed Meriweather, it would give them much needed insurance, never mind the fact that Meriweather is probably better then every current safety on the Jets roster. This move makes perfect sense for the Jets, this is a very aggressive player, a pro bowler, cut by the Pats, with character issues, who would fit in perfectly in the Jets blitz happy defensive scheme. Signing him is a no brainer and Tannanbaum should try to get a deal done.