Jets Sign Jim Leonhard - NBC New York

Jets Sign Jim Leonhard

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    Jets Sign Jim Leonhard
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    Leonhard is the latest to turn in purple for green.

    If the Jets want to make good on Bart Scott's promise of increased violence on the defensive side of the ball, it helps to have players with a stomach for that kind of work. To that end, the Jets signed safety Jim Leonhard on Tuesday.

    Leonhard signed a three-year deal, according to Alex Marvez of Fox Sports, and should slot into the starting lineup at strong safety. Leonhard, like Scott, is a former Raven and, therefore, well schooled in the necessities of violent defense. He'll be an integral part of implementing Rex Ryan's agresssive system, perhaps even more integral than the higher profile Scott.

    In Baltimore, Leonhard played alongside the incomparable Ed Reed in the secondary. His steady play allowed Reed to freelance and wreak havoc on offenses every week. Kerry Rhodes isn't quite as good a player as Reed, but Leonhard's arrival should allow him ample opportunities to attack without exposing the defensive backfield to attack. Last year's strong safeties, Abram Elam and Eric Smith, weren't up to that task and Rhodes' blitzing ability wasn't able to be used to its fullest effectiveness.

    Leonhard also has experience returning punts and kicks, so he may be able to spell Leon Washington in that job. That would be another benefit, allowing Washington to be fresher for his role on offense, although a much less important one than his role on the defense.

    That defense is coming together nicely thanks to the two free agent signings, but the Jets biggest need, a reliable quarterback, remains unfilled.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.