Wednesday, March 13, 2013
LaRon Landry signs with Colts
By Rich Cimini
The free-agent defections keep coming for the New York Jets. The latest is Pro Bowl safety LaRon Landry, who signed Wednesday night with the Indianapolis Colts.
The deal, first reported by CBS Sports, is a four-year, $24 million contract and includes $14 million in guarantees, according to a league source.
"We're ecstatic about this signing," Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said in a statement released by the team. "We feel LaRon is an absolute game changer and a true impact player. We're talking about a 220-pound safety that runs 4.3 and plays to that speed. His approach to the game and his style of play are lights out and embody the culture we're building on the defense and this team in general."
Earlier in the day, the Jets lost running back Shonn Greene to the Tennessee Titans and safety Yeremiah Bell to the Arizona Cardinals.
Tight end Dustin Keller also could be close to leaving, as he spent Wednesday evening with Miami Dolphins officials.
The Jets, under new general manager John Idzik, are cleaning house. That may not bode well for Rex Ryan, who could be a lame-duck coach.
They made an effort to re-sign Landry, their top free agent, but there never was a realistic chance. Even with newly created cap room, roughly $15 million, they never had a shot.
The hard-hitting Landry should bring much-needed tenacity to the Colts' defense, which ranked 29th against the run. It should be an easy transition; Chuck Pagano's system is similar to Ryan's defense.
After two injury-plagued seasons with the Washington Redskins, Landry re-established himself as one of the top safeties in the game. The former first-round pick stayed healthy, started every game and provided an intimidating presence.
Landry led the team with four forced fumbles, also recording two interceptions (one for a touchdown) and 87 solo tackles, second on the team.
Because of Achilles tendon issues, Landry didn't attract much interest last year on the free-agent market. He settled for a one-year, $3.5 million contract.
The Jets are hurting at safety, with no proven veterans under contract. Bell, who started every game last season and finished third in tackles, signed a one-year deal with the Cards and the Jets cut top backup Eric Smith.
The secondary, the strength of the team, could take another major hit if cornerback Darrelle Revis is traded.