Posted: 3:51 pm Friday, May 18th, 2012
By Brian Biggane
Safety Yeremiah Bell, who was released last month by the Dolphins despite leading the team with 107 tackles, was signed Friday by the New York Jets to a one-year deal worth $1.4 million, according to league sources.
The dismissal of Bell, 34, has left the Dolphins with little experience at either safety position. Three players – veteran Tyrone Culver and youngsters Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons – took turns filling the free safety spot opposite Bell last season, and the team did not address the position in the draft.
Bell, a defensive captain last season, was perceived to be both the physical and emotional leader of the defensive backfield in recent years, though he has appeared to lose a step and has been a component in the team’s struggles to defend tight ends.
The Dolphins saved $4.35 million when they cut Bell prior to the final year of the four-year, $20 million deal he signed in 2009, but there had been speculation he might be brought back at a lower number. But the Dolphins never appeared to show any interest, while Bell worked out for Philadelphia, Kansas City and Tennessee in addition to the Jets.
New York had previously signed LaRon Landry and also has Eric Smith back at safety, where Jim Leonhard had been entrenched since coming to New York with Rex Ryan in 2009.
Bell had been the longest tenured Dolphin prior to his release. He joined the Dolphins in 2004 after spending three years following his departure from Eastern Kentucky working odd jobs while chasing his dream to play in the NFL. His career high of 120 tackles came in 2008 and he has totaled five interceptions in his career, including three in 2009.
About the Author
Brian Biggane has been a sportswriter for The Palm Beach Post for 31 years. This is his second go-round on the Dolphins beat, having covered Don Shula and Bob Griese for the Sun-Sentinel in the 1970s and, before that, O.J. Simpson and the Buffalo Bills for the Niagara Falls (N.Y.) Gazette.