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Monday, March 8, 2010
GM: Jets set with safeties Smith, Ihedigbo


A convergence of various circumstances led to the New York Jets' decision to trade safety Kerry Rhodes.

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said on a conference call Monday they pulled the trigger "based on three factors: in part economics, in part the fact that we got two draft choices for him and then, lastly, the depth at that position."

Tannenbaum added the Arizona Cardinals became more interested when they lost Antrel Rolle to the New York Giants but dismissed the notion Rhodes had to be dealt because of a reported personality clash with defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.

As evidenced by the trade a day after Tannenbaum indicated Rhodes would be back in 2010, everything said by NFL executives should be taken with a grain of the shifting offseason sands.

For now, however, Tannenbaum isn't declaring a need to procure significant help at safety. On the roster are Jim Leonhard (19 starts, counting the postseason), Eric Smith (four starts) and James Ihedigbo (leading special-teams tackler).

"Smith and Ihedigbo are two guys we like a lot," Tannebaum said. "So there's three safeties in the building that have played for us and we've been successful with.

"That was a big part of our decision with Kerry. We really feel with these three guys we can line up and play winning football on defense.

"We'll certainly add one, maybe two guys there. That could be in the draft. That could be in free agency. I'm not really sure. But one of the things that gave us comfort in the trade was knowing those two guys were here."