- Jim Leonhard – Former Jets safety and Wisconsin Alum Jim Leonhard is still available. He did get injured last year in Game 13 and I can’t say I’m sure about his present status. But assuming he is on track to recover and be ready for the 2012 season, I really think he’d be worth pursuing. He won’t be very expensive (he would have been picked up by now if he were) and he is a guy who just gets the job done. The jets fell apart down the stretch in good part because Leonhard got hurt. He is a really good player, very solid, very instinctive. He’s incredibly athletic. And despite closing out the last 2 seasons with injuries, he managed to play in the majority of games in those two seasons before getting injured. The Jets, because they are now in full-shameless-marketing-hype mode, signed Laron Landry instead of re-signing Leonhard. Landry is definitely the higher profile, more exciting seeming guy – but I highly doubt he’ll be as effective as Leonhard was in that defense. The guy is gritty and has made a career of being the underdog who can flat out play. I think we should go pick him up regardless of what the Nick Collins’ prognosis ends up being.
- Dallas Clark – I know he’s been injured a lot too. And he’s slow. And he’d be in a new offensive system. Etc etc. But he’s a smart player. He’s also instinctive and considering he’s still floating around in the free agency pool at this point, he simply can’t command a huge salary. But I like him in good part because I think Finley could use a mentor. Finley has developed nicely on his own but he has not had the luxury of learning beside a veteran TE really. I think a guy like Clark could really help Finley hone his craft. And Clark would be the kind of guy who would probably love an opportunity to play in the league’s best offense next to one of the league’s best young TEs. But Clark in his own right could really contribute to this offense. If we had him and could run 2 TE sets, throw in our WRs and the defense would really struggle to cover. He’d likely draw slower LBs and #4 CBs – and even if he’s slowed down a bit, he’d have no trouble winning those match ups.
- London Fletcher – I know he’s 36, but so is Jeff Saturday. London Fletcher just plain gets the job done. Last year he led the Redskins in tackles with an incredible 166, and forced 5 turnovers while picking up 1.5 sacks. He’s disciplined, he’s played in both 4-3 Ds and 3-4 Ds, and he’s been one of the surest tacklers in the NFL forever. He now has 10 straight seasons with at least 128 tackles – that’s crazy – and there are a number of people who think last season was his best yet. He is totally underappreciated and again because he’s still available, I don’t think he’d cost too much to sign. I envision slotting him into the middle and either benching Hawk – or perhaps moving Bishop to the ROLB so he could wreak havoc opposite Mathews.
So of all the guys to write about, why did I pick these three? Because TT and MM like to talk about bringing in “football guys” for this team. Guys who have instinct and just plain get the job done. Well, here are 3 guys who define “football guys”. We’d be a better team with any one of them in the fold.