The NY Jets have decisions to make on 21 unrestricted free agents this offseason. One of the more unheralded players set to hit the open market is safety Rontez Miles.
Miles has been with the Jets for the better part of the past decade having spent seven seasons in the green and white. During that time, he’s established himself as a core special-teamer and a true team leader on and off the field.
In reality, Miles is likely one of the best success stories on the team.
A two-star recruit coming out of Woodland Hills High School in Pennsylvania, Miles was immediately overshadowed by his high-school teammate who went on to be a very successful NFL player.
That player was Rob Gronkowski. You may have heard of him.
But while Gronkowski went on to play at Arizona and eventually shine with the New England Patriots, Miles was recruited by local schools and he wound up playing for the Division-II California Vulcans in California, Pennsylvania.
After four successful seasons in college, Miles once again had to prove himself as an undrafted free agent attending Jets rookie minicamp. Although initially released, he was signed to the team’s practice squad and made his NFL debut just days before his 25th birthday.
And through his relentless work ethic, Miles has lasted seven years with the Jets and is the second-longest tenured player on the roster behind Bilal Powell.
But with his contract set to expire, will the Jets opt to bring back the fan-favorite safety?
Should the Jets re-sign him?
All five of those players are younger and likely cheaper than Miles will be.
That said, there is something to be said about having a veteran leader like Rontez Miles on the roster. On top of that, he’s proven to be a very valuable special-teamer in the past even if he’s unlikely to see the field as a safety.
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The major thing working against him — apart from his age — is his durability. Miles has played just 15 games over the past two seasons missing the first half of 2018 and the second half of 2019.
His injuries combined with his age might be enough of a reason to move on despite his leadership.
Will the Jets re-sign him?
Regardless of what the Jets ultimately decide to do, it’s clear that the coaching staff thinks very highly of Miles.
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Despite a completely new regime with no ties to returning players, head coach Adam Gase decided to name Miles a captain going into the 2019 season. That’s a testament to the faith the coaches have in him as a leader and the respect his teammates have for him.
Unfortunately, respect and leadership might not be enough to earn him another contract with the Jets.
His age and recent injury history are working against him as if the fact that safety is one of the deepest positions on the roster. Apart from the five safeties already on the roster, the Jets also have Bennett Jackson who is an exclusive-rights free agent and will likely be back.
That’s six safeties before Miles is even considered. Not a great omen for the veteran special-teamer.
Rontez Miles is an incredible story and one of the most beloved Jets on the roster. But it seems likely that his time with Gang Green is coming to an end.
Odds of re-signing: 25%