FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets took some heat for signing injury-plagued safety LaRon Landry last offseason, but it turned out to be a terrific move. If they needed validation, it came Wednesday night with the news that Landry was selected to his first Pro Bowl.
Landry and cornerback Antonio Cromartie will represent the Jets at the Pro Bowl; both made the AFC squad as backups. It makes the first time in team history the Jets will send two defensive backs to the annual all-star game, which will be played Jan. 27 in Honolulu.
It says a lot about the secondary, which survived the loss of All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis in Week 4.
"It says our secondary is pretty daggone good," said Cromartie, who was named to his second Pro Bowl.
For all the criticism GM Mike Tannenbaum has received, he did a nice job of rebuilding the safety position, adding Landry and Yeremiah Bell. Landry was risky because he had missed 15 games over the previous two seasons, prompting the Redskins to let him walk as a free agent.
The Jets signed Landry to a one-year, $3.5 million contract, based heavily on incentives. He skipped the offseason program, but he evidently knew what he was doing. The Jets put him on an in-season rehab program, allowing him to his rest his chronic heel injury once a week in practice.
Landry became an intimidating force on defense, forcing four fumbles, intercepting two passes and scoring one touchdown. More importantly, he hasn't missed a game.
On the downside, the Pro Bowl recognition probably will raise Landry's asking price on the free-agent market. A clause in his current deal prohibits the Jets from using the franchise tag on him.
"To be honest with you, I'd like to keep our whole secondary together," Cromartie said.
Cromartie filled Revis' void, covering the opponents' No. 1 receiver every week. He responded with what he calls his best season as a pro. He leads the team with three interceptions, including one for a TD. He also has played a handful of plays at wide receiver. Two weeks ago, he became the first NFL player in four years to start on offense and defense.
"For me, to maintain consistency over the entire year, yeah, I'd say it's my best year," said Cromartie, who made the Pro Bowl as a member of the Chargers in 2007 -- the year he had 10 interceptions.
Tannenbaum acquired Cromartie for a second-round pick in 2010, one of his better trades.
This time, Ferguson was named the second alternate, Mangold the third. Joe McKnight was the third alternate as the kick returner.