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New York Jets offseason preview: Safeties

With the NFL scouting combine (Feb. 17-23) and free agency (March 10) approaching, we take a position-by-position look at the New York Jets as they head into the offseason:

Position: Safety

2014 snaps:

Key stat: The Jets allowed a league-high 14 receiving touchdowns by tight ends and they were the only team to not intercept a single pass intended for a tight end. Their 75.0 completion percentage allowed on passes to tight ends was the third-worst in the league.

Pending free agents: Landry (unrestricted), Jarrett (restricted).

2015 cap hits:

  • Pryor: $1.95 million

  • Allen: $1.57 million

  • Rontez Miles: $435,000

Money matters: The Jets are in the bottom 10 in cap dollars for the safety position. It'll cost the Jets at least $1.4 million (last year's RFA amount) to put an original-round tender on Jarrett, a former second-round pick. If they decline, he'll become an unrestricted free agent. Allen triggered a playing-time escalator, resulting in a $1 million raise. As a former first-round pick, Pryor's second-year base salary ($809,239) is fully guaranteed.

Big picture: Landry was a valued player under the previous coaching staff because he knew Rex Ryan's system and was able to teach it to the younger players. They called him "The Mentor." Now, under Todd Bowles, Landry would have to learn it from scratch like everyone else. Therefore, look for him to move on via free agency. Basically, the Jets are left with three strong safeties, assuming they retain Jarrett. They desperately need a ballhawk, a free safety with enough range to cover the deep middle in Bowles' single-high scheme. The takeaway was a foreign concept last season, as the Jets produced a league-low 13 turnovers.

They need a big improvement from Pryor, who was used out of position as a rookie because of other deficiencies in the secondary. Pryor could thrive as a "box" safety and blitzer in Bowles' scheme. With the Arizona Cardinals last season, Bowles often used a three-safety dime package, with Deon Bucannon deployed as a frequent blitzer. There aren't many intriguing options in free agency. The ideal fit would be the New England Patriots' Devin McCourty, a New York native who attended Rutgers. Good luck prying him away from the Super Bowl champions.

Free-agent market watch: Pending free agents include Mike Adams, Nate Allen, Stevie Brown, Louis Delmas, LaRon Landry, McCourty, Rahim Moore, Antrel Rolle and George Wilson.