The defensive back corps is one of the best in the NFL. The problem, however, is that three of the four starters may be playing for a different team next season.
LaRon Landry, the Jets' most valuable safety, was finally healthy this season and made it to the Pro Bowl. While this means that a lot of money will likely be thrown his way, his level of play was not very strong.
According to Pro Football Focus, Landry is the 38th-ranked safety hitting free agency.
Maybe his price tag will not be as high as many expect. His play is nowhere near Eric Weddle's, who made $5 million this season and signed a contract making him the highest-paid safety. The only safeties who make more than $5 million a season are:
- Ed Reed, FS, Ravens, $7.2 million
- Antrel Rolle, SS, Giants, $6.75 million
- Charles Woodson, SS (on a cornerback's contract), Packers, $6.5 million
- Troy Polamalu, SS, Steelers, $6.25 million
- Dashon Goldson, FS, 49ers, $6.21 million
- Antoine Bethea, FS, Colts, $5.025 million
- Eric Weddle, FS, Chargers, $5.00 million
Goldson's $6.2 million is from being given the francise tag last year, which is the average of the five highest contracts at that position. Landry is not a top-five safety and should make less than $6.21 million a season.
That, of course, is If he is willing to take less than $5 million a season (reasonable, seeing as how this was his first full season since Barack Obama took office).
Projected Contract: Four years, $25 million with the Carolina Panthers
Yeremiah Bell is a completely different situation. He played pretty well this season for what he was asked to do. He was able to help in zone coverage and was pretty good at preventing long runs. His lack of speed hurt him, but he can still offer a lot to any team that signs him.
If the Jets do retain him, it would likely be for less than $2 million per season. Bell, 34, only made $1.8 million this past season.
Projected Contract: One year, $1.6 million with the New York Jets
When most fans hear Isaiah Trufant's name, they immediately say "who?" or they remember him for his blocked punt return for a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys two seasons ago. Few actually realize that he was the team's best nickel back this season before he suffered a leg injury that put him on injured reserve.
He should come back next season, especially if Antonio Cromartie or Darrelle Revis is traded away. His presence is invaluable.
Projected Contract: One year, $750,000 with the New York Jets