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Perhaps the deadliest fish in the free-agent sea this year is safety LaRon Landry, coming off a one-year contract with the New York Jets. Overrated, past his prime and injury prone, Landry is the trifecta of bad free agency.
Last year, Landry was a great pickup by the Jets. Coming off an injury and vastly underrated, the Jets signed him to a low-cost one-year deal.
Suddenly since coming to New York, Landry has become hugely overrated, despite not improving his play. With his first ever Pro Bowl appearance this season, Landry stands in a position to ask for a major contract. Something as high as five years, $40 million might not be out of the question.
He is not worth it, not even close.
Landry's stock is rising at just the right time for him to cash in. He is one of only two Jets players to be voted to the 2013 Pro Bowl (the other is cornerback Antonio Cromartie).
Unfortunately, Landry is perhaps the least deserving player on the AFC Pro Bowl squad. Several Jets players deserved to get in over him. Most notable is defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, arguably the biggest Pro Bowl snub of the year.
Past His Prime
Landry has played free safety this season but is more of a strong safety at heart. He is better as a run-stuffer than in coverage. In fact, he has been beaten many times on coverage this year. In some of those cases, television announcers mistakenly blamed cornerbacks, but reviewing game film shows that Landry was often at fault.
The folks at Pro Football Focus—who watch and analyze every snap of game film for all players—have Landry as the No. 55-ranked safety in the NFL, grading out as an average safety in pass coverage. Note that he is average for all safeties, whereas free safeties should be above average when compared to strong safeties.
With only five pass deflections on the season to go along with 13 missed tackles and an 89.1 opposing quarterback rating, one could easily argue that Landry has gotten worse this season, rather than better.
By good fortune, Landry made it through the 2012 season. In the offseason, most teams ignored him, assuming he could not play a full year. His recurring Achilles' tendon injuries have been a problem for years. These problems—which persist today—have kept Landry out of many practices and put him on the questionable list before almost every game.
This has been the first season since 2008 in which Landry played all 16 games. Most likely this was the exception, not the norm. He will probably not be able to play all 16 games in 2013. With the spotlight on him this coming offseason, he should try to lock up a long-term contract. He might get it, but the team that gives it to him will regret it.
In reality, Landry is what many other safeties are in the NFL. He is a decent veteran who is a borderline starter. There are multiple teams who could use his skills at the veteran's minimum. However, if he expects a Pro Bowl-caliber paycheck, then he is the biggest rip-off on the free-agent market.
Adam Waksman is a featured columnist for the Bleacher Report New York Jets community. Be sure to follow Adam on Twitter to receive updates right away.