New York Jets Free Agency 2013: Best Signings of All Time: #2

By Alan Schechter

Dec 04, 2011; Landover, MD, USA; New York Jets safety Jim Leonhard (36) during the third quarter against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. the Jets defeated the Redskins 34-19. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

For the last several days, as John Idzik and company have been putting together their plan for this Jets roster, we have been looking back. Specifically, we have been looking back at 10 of the best free agent signings by the New York Jets in the twenty years since the system has been in place.

You can come to my name on the side of our page to follow the entire countdown, and here are the last few: Bryan Cox, Jumbo Elliott, and Vinny Testaverde.  Now tonight, we bring you the number 2 free agent signing:


Jimmy was another one of “Rex’s Guys”, brought to New York right away in 2009, along with Bart Scott, in an attempt to bring Rex’s system to a quick jump start on the field, which occurred as we all know.  First in the league, and then third in the league in defense tells you all you need to know about that.

Much like Mike DeVito, Jim Leonhard was your hard-working, high motor, lunch pail type of player that endears himself to the fan base. He is a small in stature 5’8″, but that didn’t stop Jim from directing the defensive backfield and keeping the middle of the field clean. His stats have never been flashy, Jimmy has never been asked to perform with flashy stats. He has been asked to lead, which he does with gusto.

Even though the ends of two seasons were lost to injury, Jim still makes this list. Why? How did the team perform without him? Immediately following Jim’s injury, the team was NEVER ready to play, and it showed. Just ask New England about if if you don’t remember. Jim Leonhard, very quietly, was a huge member of this list.

And an obvious choice to be included here.