Former Miami Dolphins captain and starting stong safety Yeremiah Bell has signed with the New York Jets according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Bell had been the longest tenured Dolphin on the roster before his realease in March. He had been linked to the Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans, and Kansas City Chiefs before agreeing to join his former AFC East rival.
Bell is reunited with former Miami head coach Tony Sparano, who took over as the Jets' offensive coordinator this offseason.
"I know Yeremiah will really be missed in Miami," said Rosenhaus. "The Dolphins are really banking on some of the young safeties to step up this year."
Bell has topped the 100 tackles mark in each of the last four seasons, leading the Dolphins during all four of those campaigns. He had 107 tackles last year, along with two sacks and an interception. He had played for the Dolphins for eight years, having been drafted by the team in 2003. During his career, Bell has 560 tackles, 11 sacks, and 6 interceptions.
Miami released Bell, 34, after a 2011 season where it appeared, despite his tackle totals, he had lost a step. Bell was scheduled to make $6.2 million in 2012, with the Dolphins taking a $1.9 million salary cap hit to let the veteran walk away from the team.
Bell's deal with the Jets is reportedly a one-year, $1.4 million contract. He has a $1.1 million guarantteed base salary, along with a $200,000 signing bonus and a $100,00 workout bonus.
The Dolphins are looking to utilize younger safeties to fill new defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle's system. The team is looking for safeties who can play both the strong safety and free safety positions, with out any degredation whenever they switch. The team currently has Reshad Jones, Chris Clemons, Tyrone Culver, Jimmy Wilson, and free-agent signing Tyrell Johnson competing for the two safety positions. Only sophomore Wilson, who is converting from cornerback to safety, has not started at the NFL level as a safety.