Yeremiah Bell quietly did a serviceable job at safety for the Jets this year. After the disaster that was 2011 safety play for the Jets, having the steady Bell back there was a nice change of pace.
I was never a huge fan of Bell's when he was in Miami so I was lukewarm when the Jets signed him. I was pleasantly surprised by what he brought to the table. The best compliment I could pay him is there were many games where I forgot he was there. Bell was not a huge impact guy, but he also avoided the Eric Smith type catastrophe a week that resulted in a monster play. Bell was solid as a run defender and did not hurt the Jets in coverage.
I am a bit conflicted on Bell. He did a fine job in 2012, but watching things over, I feel like having the rangy LaRon Landry partnering with him also limited what the Jets asked him to do. Landry was able to cover a lot of ground and take a lot of responsibilities. Bell's life was made easy.
This makes things tricky. Landry and Bell are both free agents. If neither returns, the Jets are slated to have a couple of late round 2012 Draft picks starting. Having limited young players as the last line of defense is a recipe for trouble. Bell's experience back there could be really helpful. He figures to be more affordable than Landry. How much will he lose asked to do more not playing with Landry?
I don't think Landry and Bell should both be back. Their strengths and weaknesses overlap too much. Landry is better, but depending on his contract, Bell might be the better value. I view a second year of Bell as a fallback option if Landry walks.