Denver Broncos and Safety Jim Leonhard Reportedly Agree on 1-Year Deal

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVAugust 4, 2012

The NFL free-agency pool may have slowly died down as training camps have begun across the country, but the Denver Broncos found a way to make another free-agency splash just weeks before the regular season. 

According to CBS NFL insider Jason La Canfora on Twitter, veteran safety Jim Leonhard has signed a one-year deal with the Broncos. 


Free agent S Jim Leonhard has agreed on a 1-year deal w/Denver. Worked out there today, a day after visiting Buffalo. Bills also made offer

— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) August 4, 2012

Leonhard has had an up-and-down career. The 5'8", 188-pound safety came into the league undrafted from Wisconsin in 2005, yet he still found a way to make the Buffalo Bills roster and slowly earn himself a starting spot in their secondary. 

The 29-year-old's biggest impact came in the 2008 season with the Baltimore Ravens, where he started 13-of-16 regular-season games on, perhaps, the league's scariest defense at the time—after notching a career-high 61 tackles in that season.

Leonhard, then, followed Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan to the New York Jets, where he signed a three-year deal and saw a lot of time not only in the secondary, but also as a punt returner. Unfortunately, leg injuries hampered his career with the Jets, and he finished the last two seasons in injured reserve. 

He should be yet another veteran presence in a Broncos secondary that's already one of the NFL's best, as they were an impressive seventh in pass defense for 2011. Denver suddenly has a very experienced secondary.

The seven-year veteran may or may not be 100 percent heading into the season, as he had surgery to repair a torn tendon in his knee in December 2011. Such a surgery typically requires eight to 10 months to heal. 

If Leonhard is healthy, he poses a huge playmaking threat on defense and special teams. Since he won't have a very heavy workload with the team, Denver will benefit from his energy and intensity.