Former Dolphins safety Bell joins Jets
NEW YORK (AP) — Yeremiah Bell is joining the other side of the Dolphins-Jets rivalry.
A person familiar with the deal said the New York Jets and the veteran safety agreed to terms Friday on a one-year contract worth $1.4 million.
The former Dolphins starter adds depth to the safety position, a spot the Jets have revamped this offseason. Starter Eric Smith remains, but the Jets also signed LaRon Landry a few weeks ago, and drafted Josh Bush in the sixth round and Antonio Allen in the seventh.
Bell’s deal includes $1.3 million fully guaranteed, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the move.
ProFootballTalk.com first reported the deal.
The 34-year-old Bell spent all nine of his previous NFL seasons with the Dolphins, but was cut in March to create cap space. He was a consistent performer for Miami, starting in every game but one the last four seasons. Bell had a team-leading 107 tackles, two sacks and an interception last season.
While he likely comes in to back up Landry at strong safety, Bell also provides insurance at the position in case the former Washington Redskins star isn’t fully healed from an Achilles injury that limited him last season. The Jets have said they believe Landry will be ready to go for training camp, however, although he has not participated in all of the voluntary offseason workouts.
Bell, who played under current Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano in Miami, reportedly worked out for New York, Philadelphia, Tennessee and Kansas City before choosing to play in Rex Ryan’s defense. Bell’s best season came in 2009, when he had 114 tackles, a career-high three interceptions and 1 1/2 sacks while being selected for the Pro Bowl.
The Jets still might not be done addressing the safety position. Jim Leonhard, a starter the last three years, is a free agent and still recovering from a knee injury that cut short his season. The Jets could still re-sign the popular veteran — whom cornerback Darrelle Revis referred to as the “quarterback” of the defense — if Leonhard proves he’s healthy.