Nobody is more aware or in support of the New York Jets upgrading their safety position than this website. However, signing free agent safety Brandon Meriweather is far from the right approach when it comes to fixing arguably the team’s weakest spot. If you are looking to sign a player who has seen their play has radically decline the past two years, is a penalty/fine drawing machine on the field and a major liability off it, then go ahead and sign Meriweather.
In 2009, Meriweather put together a strong year for the New England Patriots finishing with 83 tackles, 5 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles. In 2010, those numbers declined to 68 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 0 forced fumbles. He also picked up a $50,000 dollar fine for a hit on Todd Heap. The Patriots cut Merriweather right before the 2011 season and say what you want about them, they know a thing or two about making roster decisions. He was picked up by the Bears where he played in only 11 games, starting 4. He finished with 32 tackles, 0 interceptions, and 0 forced fumbles.
Last season in Chicago, Meriweather was fined $20,000 and $25,000 in consecutive weeks for illegal hits before being benched by the Bears coaching staff for routinely missing tackles and giving up big plays. Former Chicago Bears receiver, Tom Waddle, had this to say about Meriweather’s style of play
“What Brandon does is he leads with his helmet all the time. There’s no place in the game, brother, at this particular time for that. It’s vicious enough. And when your intent, in my humble opinion, is to hurt or maim, I’ve got no time for you, and I don’t think the game’s got any place for you. I did not realize how undisciplined a player Brandon Meriweather was. He comes with two Pro Bowls. And he came with a lot of interceptions. But … red flag goes up when a guy like Bill Belichick decides to let you go.”
Also, in case you forgot Meriweather was involved in a gun fight at the University of Miami in 2006 and accused of shooting two men in early 2011. And of course there was Meriweather swinging his helmet at other players during this infamous brawl
Signing Meriweather shows the Jets continuing to ignore character, which backfired on them last year but beyond that, they are signing an ineffective player. Look at Meriweather thriving as the line of defense prior to his benching last season –
The New York Jets would be better on and off the field by staying put with Eric Smith and Jim Leonhard than signing Meriweather and this is coming from somebody who thinks Smith and Leonhard were terrible last season. The team needs to focus on getting Reggie Nelson or even LaRon Landry and his injury history before signing Meriweather. If they come up empty in free agency on those two, look to the trade market or the draft…just don’t go with Meriweather.