Top 5 FA Safety's
Jairus Byrd- He is considered one of the top FA this off season. He is a probowl player and would be a great fit in NY. Last season, he was with Mike Pettine (our ex Def Coordinator) and the Buffalo Bills where he posted monster numbers. He is a ball hawk posting 9 int’s his rookie season and 22 in his 6 years. He has also forced 11 fumbles during this time frame. Byrd is disgruntled that the Bills didn’t sign him to a long term contract. At the age of 27 he is about to be in the prime of his career. He could be a great fit for the Jets because he can create turnovers. Also he played in Mike Pettine’s system last season which is very similar to Rex’s style of play. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Jets steal Byrd from the other New York team the Bills. If they do I guarantee his best 2 games next season will be against his former team.
TJ Ward- He is a different type of safety than Jairus Byrd. He is a hard hitting safety who likes to play along the line of scrimmage. He is a great hitter and had 112 tackles last season. He is solid in coverage but doesn’t get many turnovers. Last season he had zero forced fumbles, and only 2 INT’s. It’s strange that a guy who hits so hard from the safety position only had 2 forced fumbles last season. TJ is 27 years old and is going to be in the prime of his career if the Jets sign him. It should be interesting to see who Mike Pettine the head coach of the Browns goes after. Will he look to bring in Byrd his safety from last season, or look to re-sign TJ Boss Ward both pro bowl players in 2013.
Antoine Bethea- At the age of 29 Antoine Bethea has started 123 games in the NFL. Last season he had 2 INT’s and 89 tackles. He is a two time Pro Bowler. During his career he has 14 INT’s and 5 forced fumbles. He is a very solid veteran who has won a Super Bowl. Although he is a very good player I do not think the Jets should go after him; and I don’t think the Jets will go after him during free agency.
Donte wHitner- The 49ers failed to franchise tag Donte Whitner making him available and an unrestricted free agent. With Byrd and Ward the top two safety free agents Whitner can be a cheaper option for the Jets. He is known for his big hits having been fined by the NFL many times. He is only 28 and has many good years left. Over the past 3 seasons he has 5 forced fumbles, and 5 INT’s. He should be the Jets number 3 option at safety.
Malcolm Jenkins- Has not developed into the CB/ Safety a first round draft pick should. He is not a playmaker like Byrd or a run stopper like TJ Ward but he is a good smart athlete and can play both CB and Safety. He is a good fit for a cover 2 scheme. The Jets should stay away. I don’t think Rob Ryan will be too happy with Rex if we stole Jenkins.
Analysis – The Jets should go after 1 of these five players. Our safety play last season was terrible. We gave up too many passes over 20 yards, and got burned deep numerous times. The Jets have the money to bring in one of these players. If one of these five players is signed our defensive will significantly be better which is hard to do considering we have one of the top defensives in the NFL. If I was John Idzik I would pick Jairus Byrd. He should be familiar with the system, and he is a ball hawk, a play maker which our D missed last season. He can create turnovers. He is an explosive player and worth an 8 million dollar contract.