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Jets Free Agency 2012: Safety Jim Leonhard's Injuries Ended Chance Of Landing Big Contract

At the end of this third season with the New York Jets, safety Jim Leonhard finds himself hitting the open market as an unrestricted free agent. In a recent article on SI.com, Leonhard was listed with several others as players whose 2011 seasons ruined their chances of receiving a decent sized article. However, unlike the other players on the list, Leonhard was mentioned because of his back-to-back seasons that ended with injuries.

Leonhard is on this list almost through no fault of his own, but rather to highlight how damaging an ill-timed injury can be. When he's on the field, Leonhard is one of the more consistent safeties in the NFL - he was a terrific addition to the Ravens in 2008, then helped upgrade New York's secondary beginning in 2009.

The problem is that, for the second year in a row Leonhard ended the season on the sidelines. He suffered a freak shin injury in practice late in the 2010 campaign, then tore his patellar tendon making his lone interception of the 2011 season in Week 13.

It sounds as if the Jets are ready to move on. Can Leonhard, who will turn 30 in October and is coming off major leg injuries each of the past two seasons, find another home?

In his three seasons with the Jets, Leonhard has made 185 tackles 2.5 sacks and three interceptions. The Jets are expected to select a safety high in the draft, possibly Alabama's Mark Barron, to replace Leonhard.

For more on the Jets, head to Gang Green Nation.