Leonhard in High Demand


Former Ravens safety Jim Leonhard has agreed to a free-agent contract with the New York Jets

Leonhard will rejoin former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan and linebacker Bart Scott. 

FOXSports.com's Alex Marvez reported that after Leonhard initially agreed with the Jets Tuesday afternoon, the Denver Broncos put their hat into the ring for the safety's services.  But in the end, it was Ryan that won the battle.

"I've liked Jim since his days at Wisconsin and was excited when we were able to bring him to Baltimore last season," said Ryan. "He was everything I expected him to be in 2008 when he bailed us out at safety after we had some injuries.

"He's a smart player that can get guys lined up in the secondary and was one of the best tacklers on that Ravens defense. He's always around the ball, brings everything he has on every play and will be a great addition to our group of defensive backs."

Leonhard, 26, was one of the more-sought after free agents left after the first weekend of signings. The former undrafted free agent was a key member of Baltimore's second-ranked defense last year, when he started a career-high 13 games.

Alongside Pro Bowler Ed Reed, Leonhard tallied 85 tackles and returned his only interception for a touchdown. 

At the NFL Scouting Combine in February, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said that he was not in contract negotiations with Leonhard at that time.  Newsome explained that Leonhard would have to compete for a starting position because it is expected that former starter Dawan Landry will make a full recovery from the spinal chord concussion he suffered in Week 2 last year.

Leonhard was also mentioned as a candidate for the Philadelphia Eagles, who recently lost safety Brian Dawkins to the Broncos. 

Ryan has been busy reshaping his new defense.  Scott was a prominent signing on free agency's first day, and Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard was brought in from the Eagles via trade.  Ryan and the Jets also hosted former Ravens cornerback Corey Ivy, but Rich Cimini of The New York Daily News wrote that talks of Ivy's move to New York have cooled.

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