In a snap, Jets lose a safety net

On the same day Rex Ryan expressed concern about long snapper Tanner Purdum, the Jets lost a potential safety net at the position when James Dearth signed a free-agent contract Saturday with the Washington Redskins.

Uh, oh.

Dearth was the New York Jets' long snapper from 2001 to 2009 -- and a good one -- but he's 34 and is entitled to about $800,000 in salary (the veterans' minimum for a player with his experience). The Jets chose not to re-sign Dearth, an unrestricted free agent, opting for Purdum.

Purdum, 25, who has no NFL experience, was doing nicely until Friday, when he experienced a couple of hiccups in practice.

"That concerned me," Ryan said. "He's been doing a great job. He can really snap the ball. He has to be accurate. That can't be a question because he doesn't have great size (6-3, 270)."

Why not re-sign Dearth?

"The way the game is set up, you try to get younger, cheaper players if you can," Ryan said. "That's the harsh reality of this game."

In the back of their minds, the Jets always felt they could re-sign Dearth if Purdum didn't work out. Dearth isn't a lock to make the Redskins, but as of right now, he's no longer an option.