- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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First, the franchise tag took several top-rated safeties off the board for the needy New York Jets. Now, the Cincinnati Bengals dished out the latest blow over the weekend by re-signing starting safety Reggie Nelson.
The Jets reportedly made an offer to Nelson, who agreed with the Bengals following a two-day visit in New York. The Jets options at safety are getting thin this offseason.
New York still needs to find two starting safeties. Jim Leonhard is an unrestricted free agent who had a season-ending knee injury in December and probably won't be ready when camp opens. Eric Smith struggled mightily last season and was beat on plenty of plays.
It's getting more and more difficult for the Jets to find replacements in free agency. It looks like New York's choices are now limited to former Washington Redskins safety LaRon Landry and/or the draft. Alabama's Mark Barron is a possibility with the Jets' pick at No. 16. Barron has a lot of physical traits the Jets would like.