LaRon Landry signs with risk-taking Jets
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr. AP Sports Writer March 20, 2012 1:00PM
Updated: March 20, 2012 1:00PM
NEW YORK — LaRon Landry is bringing his bone-jarring hits to Rex Ryan’s defense.
The free-agent safety signed one-year deal Monday with the Jets, filling one of New York’s most pressing needs.
With starter Eric Smith the only experienced safety on the roster, the Jets focused on addressing the position in free agency. Landry visited with New York on Sunday, and had a number of other teams interested in him despite finishing last season for Washington on injured reserve with an injured left Achilles tendon.
ESPN reported that the deal was for $4 million.
With Smith and rookie Tracy Wilson, a practice squad call-up, as their only safeties, the Jets spent the last several days trying to help themselves in free agency. They lost out on Reggie Nelson, who was in for a visit but chose to return to Cincinnati, and Brandon Meriweather, who signed with the Redskins.
“When you factor in that Rex coached my brother (Dawan) and the family-oriented demeanor, it just felt like home,” Landry said. “It made the decision real easy for me. They have a top-notch support staff and facility and I really feel that I can prosper here.”
Dawan Landry played under Ryan in Baltimore when Ryan was the Ravens’ defensive coordinator.
New York allowed Brodney Pool to leave as a free agent; he signed with Dallas. Jim Leonhard, a starter the last three seasons, is also a free agent but is coming off a second straight season-ending injury. Leonhard is recovering from a torn patellar tendon in his right knee, and could return to the Jets.
LaRon Landry spent his first five NFL seasons with the Redskins after he was picked No. 6 overall in the 2007 draft out of LSU. He played at both free and strong safety with Washington, and was a two-time Pro Bowl alternate. The hard-hitting Landry could be used as a blitzing safety in Ryan’s aggressive defense and be a solid presence against the run — as long as he stays healthy.
His last two seasons have been marked by injuries, finishing both years on injured reserve and playing in just 17 games. Landry played just nine games in 2010 after injuring his left Achilles tendon. Last season, he struggled with a strained hamstring, a pulled groin and again with the Achilles, which landed him on IR with a few weeks left in the season.
The Washington Post reported that Landry was told by the Redskins after both seasons to have surgery on the tendon area to remove bone spurs, but he instead elected to try alternative procedures such as shockwave therapy and platelet-rich plasma treatments.
Landry apparently is healthy enough for the Jets to sign him to a low-risk type of contract, giving New York a secondary with four first-rounders, along with cornerbacks Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson. Landry was selected eight spots ahead of Revis in the 2007 draft.
Landry has 383 career tackles, 5 1/2 sacks, four interceptions and six forced fumbles.