- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The New York Jets have no plans to bring back free-agent safety and Rex Ryan favorite Jim Leonhard, Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com reports. This is not a surprise, considering the Jets spent much of their free-agent dollars signing two starting-caliber safeties in Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry.
Leonhard continues to rehab after suffering a season-ending knee injury with New York last December. The Jets didn't have time to wait for Leonhard to get healthy and pursued other options.
Bell and Landry will compete with holdover Eric Smith for the two starting safety jobs. Smith and Leonhard struggled as a tandem last year. Both lacked size and were not overly athletic. The combination led to opponents picking on New York's weakness by throwing to tight ends and slot receivers over the middle.
The Jets are bigger and more athletic with Bell and Landry. However, both safeties are known more for hitting than their coverage. Landry has made a number of big hits in his previous stop with the Washington Redskins. Bell led the Miami Dolphins in tackling last season.
Leonhard is not in the plans for New York. But he has starting experience and should be on the short list of free-agent safeties waiting for a call when there is an injury around league.
4dField Yates and Rich Cimini