UPDATE: Earlier in the free agency period, rumors were swirling about Yeremiah Bell ending up with the Patriots, Jets, or Eagles after being released by the Miami Dolphins. It seems as though one of those three team is moving closer to landing the safety, as Bell is visiting the New York Jets on Monday, according to a report. Scroll down for a look at what it might mean for New York, keeping in mind that the Jets may very well address the safety position through the draft too.
To some, the move by Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland to release defensive captain and starting strong safety Yeremiah Bell earlier this offseason was a major surprise (Ireland's made a lot of those moves recently it seems).
And while initially it appeared a reunion with Miami at a reduced salary was a possibility, that no longer is the case, according to Bell's agent Drew Rosenhaus.
However, Bell has landed on the radar of at least three teams: the Patriots, Jets and Eagles, according to Rosenhaus.
Let's take a brief look at each team's safety situation and how Bell could fit into the mix.
The Patriots secondary was woeful in 2011, giving up the second-most passing yards ever in a single season. Injuries played a part, as starting safety Patrick Chung missed extensive time, but New England needs a talent upgrade.
Chung and free-agent signee Steve Gregory form the most accomplished and talented pair of safeties on New England's current roster, but Bell could add both a physical presence as a box-roaming safety (he had 107 tackles in 2011) and much-needed experience and depth.
He's also a natural leader, something the Patriots sorely missed in 2011 amongst their safeties, despite the presence of James Ihedigbo.
You'd be hard pressed to find five teams who had inferior safety play to the Jets in 2011, as Eric Smith's major speed deficiency shined through, and Jim Leonhard suffered a season-ending injury.
The Jets have already taken a flier on former Washington standout LaRon Landry, but he comes as an inherent risk with durability concerns.
Bell's toughness and consistency would be welcomed in New York, and rest assured that Rex Ryan would find creative ways to use him—much like he did with Smith (albeit with minimal effectiveness).
The Eagles' interest in Bell can be validated by the simple fact that he has more NFL experience (eight seasons) than Philly's top three safeties (Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, and Jaiquawn Jarrett) combined.
Further, despite his 78 tackles last season, Coleman remains a long-term concern because of his diminutive stature (5'11", 195 pounds), something that hurt his draft stock coming out of Ohio State in 2010.
We all know Philadelphia worked hard to acquire elite talent on defense last offseason, and although the results weren't anywhere near where they needed to be in 2011, a beefed up veteran presence would go a long way towards improving this group.
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