Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome discussed some of his impending free agents who might interest their old defensive coordinator, Rex Ryan, yesterday.
In a brisk, 15-minute news conference with national media at the NFL scouting combine at Lucas Oil Stadium, Newsome said he is negotiating new contracts for Lewis, linebackers Bart Scott and Terrell Suggs, and center Jason Brown.
All but Suggs, who received the team's franchise tag for the second straight year, will become unrestricted free agents Friday.
Newsome is one of the game's best executives, but he would have to be a magician to keep all three players. If Scott and Lewis have even decent agents, they will hold off until free agency begins since the Jets now have massive cap space and can ignite a bidding war for either player.
Newsome acknowledged Jim Leonhard is all but gone.
"I know Jimmy will probably be attractive to other teams," Newsome said. "The things that Jimmy has to deal with is that Dawan Landry is coming back, and we've got [Haruki] Nakamura and [Tom] Zbikowski [at safety].
"If he's coming back, he's competing for a starting job. If he goes to one of these 31 other teams, he has the chance to be a starter, and everybody wants to play. ... I understand Jimmy wanting to go somewhere else."
Leonhard definitely has better cover skills than Abram Elam or Eric Smith. The Jets could cut Smith, which would probably send him to Cleveland, and put Elam to the bench in a reserve capacity, where he belongs. Leonhard's skills as a return man could also lighten Leon Washington's load, which would be helpful if Leon takes on a bigger role in the offense. Leonhard would then also be a viable replacement for Justin Miller as second return man.