Jets Free Agency Focus: Safety

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

Over the next few days, we’re going to look at a number of options that the Jets might consider once the free agency period begins in early March.

Next up, safeties.  The Jets have been reticent to play safeties historically under Rex Ryan, will this be the year that changes?  I’ve added my completely arbitrary and wholly bogus odds of each player joining the Jets.

jairusbyrdJairus Byrd, Bills
Analysis: Byrd continues to justify his status as one of the best coverage corners in football.  As a franchisee in 2013, there will be the customary 120 increase to re-franchise Byrd, but the increase isn’t steep enough for the Bills to rule out squeezing one more year out of Byrd by tagging if they so choose.  The Bills have made it abundantly clear they want to sign Byrd to a long-term deal, but we’ll see.  The numbers should be easy; Dashon Goldson’s deal and Eric Weddle’s contract are in line with whatever Byrd should get as a free agent.  While the Jets need to upgrade their safety spot, spending free agent dollars might not be the way the team does it.
TJB Contract Prediction: 5 year for $42.5 million ($23 million guaranteed)
Odds: 20 percent

T.J. Ward, Browns
Analysis: Ward s stronger against the run, but he is is no slouch in the passing game and would make an athletic and versatile addition for any team he joins.  Rex Ryan is known for his love of versatile players up the middle of his defense and Ward would be a safety he could build his unit around for the next three to five years.  Ward seems a player that is an almost certainty to get franchise tagged.  The Browns won’t want to pay the freight on a long-term deal for Ward while their whole organization is in flux.  While the team works on a long-term deal with Joe Haden, expect Ward to get tagged.
TJB Contract Prediction: 5 year for $37.5 million ($20 million guaranteed)
Odds: 10 percent

Donte Whitner, Niners
Analysis: The Jets are strong at safety against the run, but need a top-flight coverage safety to push this unit back into the lock-down category. Donte Whitner might be 29 but is someone the Jets could badly use to round out their secondary.  The Niners are unlikely to use their franchise tag and while both sides would like Whitner back, free agency seems likely.  Whitner will turn 29 this summer.
TJB Contract Prediction: 3 years for $19 million
Odds: 30 percent

Chris Clemons, Dolphins
Analysis: Clemons signed a one-year deal with the Dolphins last year and Clemons went out and had a solid season.  Clemons will likely attract more interest this year as his coverage skills might help to shore up many units around the league.  Clemons has the skillset that the Jets need added to their secondary at the safety spot and could pair well with a player like Antonio Allen.
TJB Contract Prediction: 3 years for $13.5 million
Odds: 30 percent

delmasLouis Delmas, Lions
Analysis: Delmas was cut by the Lions this week and it has come to light that he might have a knee condition.  It is likely that this news could give some teams a reason for caution when it comes to signing Delmas even though he is still one of the better coverage safeties in the league.  Delmas also played almost all the defensive snaps for the Lions in 2013.  So how much is this condition really bothering him?  The Jets could use a talent like Delmas and Rex Ryan is generally liberal with his practice policy for veterans with chronic pain or injury issues.  Delmas seems like a fit to what the Jets need to do and what they would be willing to pay for a year or two – assuming Delmas stays healthy.
TJB Contract Prediction: 3 years for $16.5 million
Odds: 30 percent

 

Add your thoughts on these players and more in the comments!




101 comments
dapoktan
dapoktan

what about Bernard Pollard? I think he's a tough player who has a knack for making plays...


Also.. he strikes fear into the heart of Tom Brady.

Marty Luc
Marty Luc

During this and all of the other "Free Agency Focuses" there has been an overwhelming opinion that most of the names given as possible Jets signees have not been worth the proposed salary that has been listed for them. 


The comments, "He's not worth the money" or "Don't sign him, just build through the draft" have been echoed over and over. 


But what's the point of being 30-40 million dollars under the cap if we're not willing to spend it?


the NFL is all about playmakers on offense, defense, and special teams. guys that can make plays. Even when there are not plays there, they can make something out of nothing and break a close game open. 


if Orakpo, or Byrd or Tate are the difference makers the Jets feel they need to get to the next level and beyond AND we have the $$ to get them at a fair market price, then I'm all in favor of spending the money and getting them. 


and we can still build the foundation and depth of the team through the draft. it's a no-brainer to me. 

levi
levi

"The Offseason Roundtable discussion"  above this article is a good read. Many of the guys realize safety as a position of need in it too.

Kyle Ely
Kyle Ely

Byrd, Spencer, Maclin, then Ebron and trade up for Jordon Matthews

a57se
a57se

Not interested in any of these guys........


Jeff E. Guy
Jeff E. Guy

This is one position I'd really like to upgrade. I would be great to get Byrd. He'll make the Jets better and his absence will make the Bills worse. Win, win. 

williamg1
williamg1

I hear Darren Sharper will come real cheap. 

Mike Milea
Mike Milea

I saw if we draft Dee Ford in the second, if he makes it to the second, or another promising OLB like Van Noy, AND THEN we pick up the Vet FS/CB... Those two moves alone makes our Defense elite if it wasnt on its way to being elite already. Thats what I would like to see...

kniff
kniff

Safety can be tweaked, but it is CB that is crying out for some $$$ this year.

Hey, we owe it to ourselves as we still bemoan the loss of Mevis...

Talib might really work Scott....

Scott Staub
Scott Staub

At times I fear too many similarities to the Lions Def, who also has a monster D-Line.  I also fear assumptions that players will automatically progress.  Wilson didnt make the jumps predicted in years two and three.  Sanchez regressed, inxtead of progressed.


With the cap and all the needs on Offense, Ixd like to see us take a middle approach.  Keep Reed on a vets minimum and upgrade with Whitner.  If we could get Talib, that would be a killer Def.  CB is the only spot on ghe Def I'd want to spend any decent amount of FA money on.

harold
harold

I doubt we will have to trade up from our 2nd round to get Matthews

Spencer may cost 8-10million APY.  I think that may be a little rich for based on injury history and age.

harold
harold

You and me both.

I would take Mike Mitchell from the Panthers before any of these guys and he would be younger and likely cheaper than any of these guys.

harold
harold

That is way too much for Delmas.  He has been a solid player.  Not a 5+ million per year player. 

Delmas @ 5.3 Million APY or Sam Shields at 8 million APY?

I will take Shields everyday of the week.

MarshRandy
MarshRandy

@kniff  Talib is a beast, but the nagging injuries will be a headache 

Steven Windeler
Steven Windeler

@Scott Staub I agree that Reed finished the year with 2 very good games. Seems to have been rejuvenated, and once he figured out the defense he made the entire unit, especially Miliner better. I want him back, and I'd hope he stays on as a coach when he retires.

MarshRandy
MarshRandy

@Scott Staub  well unlike the Lions we have Rex coaching up our D, which is huge. Plus the Lions have a dominant D line, the issue with them is that they're undisciplined, which doesn't seem like an issue for our guys 

soprano
soprano

@harold  


Who is this Spencer you speak of? What team is he on? I'd like to do some research. And by research i mean highlights on youtube.

marcus81
marcus81

@haroldJordan Matthews will probably be gone by the time Jets pick 18th in the 2nd

Kyle Ely
Kyle Ely

@harold 8-10 mil? Wow I really doubt he would be asking for that

a57se
a57se

@harold  

We have enough safeties in house plus Safety in Rex' defense is the toughest position to learn. Every time we have turned over the Safety pocition under Rex sometime during the season we get the "Aw Shucks, I've got to dumb down the coverages because our Safeties are making too many mistakes." Routine. Landry knows this defense and Allen is getting there as well as the other young guys. 

juunit
juunit

@MarshRandy @kniff 

I'd just assume there's about a 0% chance of signing him. Whether Goodson goes to jail for it or not, I think Idzik has had enough gun related issues with his players for 2 years. 

kniff
kniff

@MarshRandy @kniff  True, but he might come at less money because of that, and then we can leverage Cro to stick around cheap... to alternate (hey ONE of them should be healthy enough to start!) and we still have Milliner on the other side...

chicagofan
chicagofan

@Steven Windeler @Scott Staub  Agree with you about Reed.  One qualification should be ability to play with and mentor younger players.   Do not think its a coincidence that when Reed got things figured out, Millner got much better.  Don't want to discount that.

Question - do any of these players have a reputation as good team players?  If not, Reed could be the best choice, just because he makes the kids around him better.  Another year for Millner and I might feel differently.

harold
harold

They are talking about Anthony Spencer from the Cowboys.

harold
harold

Exactly and if you want David Nelson, you simply draft Devin Street from Pittsburgh in the 5th round.

I would take Gabe Jackson RG in 2nd and Devin Street WR in 5th vs Matthews WR in the 2nd after trading up.

a57se
a57se

@harold  

Matthews reminds me of David Nelosn.......do you trade up for that?

harold
harold

Rumored and being are different.  No offense, I like Matthews.

I just believe that you trade up for blue chippers or not at all.

marcus81
marcus81

@harold he is rumored as a late 1st rounder or 2nd, he should be better than Hill

harold
harold

We wouldn't need to use a third to trade up.  Maybe a 4th or 5th depending on how far you are trying to get up to take him.  IMO he is not worth picks to get.  If he is available and we like him fine.  But he is not trade up material.

Moncrief WR in the mid 3rd and Gilmore TE in the 4th is better than Matthews alone, IMO.

harold
harold

Unless he runs a great 40 he should be there.  His stock has taken a hit in most circles after an average Sr. Bowl. 

Lacked explosiveness and more problematic is despite his size struggled against press man coverage.

I think he can play but he is not elite talent.

harold
harold

Any deal he gets will be based on his health obviously.  If he is healthy he will get a close to market deal for his services.

If it is not as healthy, I agree he will need to take a lower deal.

harold
harold

They are pretty good in most cases at least ball parking the figures.   They can be a little high or low.  But if you were thinking 4-5 million or something like that, that is likely too low.

harold
harold

Those are the projections based on his past production from OTC.  I was reading earlier this week.

harold
harold

I think the difference is within Ryan's defense the Safety position can make an positive impact but doesn't have to for the defense to work.

However, you need the CB position to function at a high level for the defense to perform well. 

levi
levi

@a57se Kinda like you being patient with Geno right?  Just kidding. It doesnt matter what I want anyway we just have to wait and see how it plays out. But the team hasnt had a good FS in a long time so I do see it as a "need" more so than some of you guys I guess.

a57se
a57se

@levi @harold 

With so many other needs it also may be the time to remain patient at the Safety position and see if the young guys can handle the job.

levi
levi

@harold  Thats one way to go but the safety position is loaded with free agents this year so the price might be lower than expected. with so many options it might be the time to strike. 

harold
harold

I think you draft that guy next year and use what you have for now.

rstysanchz
rstysanchz

@a57se i liked ras-i-dowling coming out of college but its gonna be hard from this guy not playing the last 2 seasons and fill in at a high level...we need at least 3 more cbs with one of them being able to take cros spot 

levi
levi

@harold  I dont disagree with that logic but their god given talent will not improve. Reed will also be a year older and at his age is certainly in decline. I wont be upset if they dont upgrade the safety position but I wouldnt mind seeing this team with a good ball hawking safety either. Its been a long time and would make a huge impact.

harold
harold

I think the better word is consistentcy.  Keeping the same group may lead to them playing faster and limit mistakes.

levi
levi

@a57se I dont agree that keeping all the same guys is an upgrade.

harold
harold

I think we can sign a quality starter and a couple of our own back at CB (not Cro) and be fine.

a57se
a57se

@levi @a57se 

Allen getting better is an upgrade. Reed for the whole season on passing downs is an upgrade. Jarret with another year in the system and Miles developing are upgrades. Bush learning from Reed is an upgrade.

  After we cut Cro, we will have Wilson, Milliner and Ras-I Dowling as our CB's....THAT IS IT!. THAT is where we need to spend money.

harold
harold

I think we can develop two mid level long term starters through the draft.  Safety is such a physically demanding position get a safety young and let them go when they get too pricey (Unless you have a great one in their prime).

harold
harold

I am not advocating a safety sorry, I did not make that clear.

I want to spend on CB and ILB 1st, OLB if money is available.

WR, TE, RG (Cheap vet), Vet QB like Shaun Hill

Plus a few of our own F/A

levi
levi

@a57se so as long as Rex is coach we shouldnt upgrade the position?