The Jets announced the signing of safety J.J. Wilcox and waived linebacker Freddie Bishop on Wednesday.
Wilcox’s signing comes after the revelation that backup safety/special teams ace Rontez Miles will miss three to four months after undergoing surgery for a torn meniscus, according to a source. The source said Miles is expected back at some point during the 2018 season.
The Jets were searching for a backup safety who could play special teams after Miles’ injury. Free agent safety Kenny Vaccaro spoke with Jets’ officials about signing, but nothing was finalized. Wilcox, who spent last season with the Steelers, was about to sign a deal with the 49ers. ESPN reported Wilcox was at the 49ers facility on Tuesday, but changed his mind about signing a contract.
Wilcox is normally a strong safety and he can be utilized in a three-safety alignment, which is something Todd Bowles has implement before.
Wilcox, a 2013 third-round pick of the Cowboys, played 12 games with the Steelers last season with one interception and 12 tackles.
The Jets’ starters at safety are Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, with Terrence Brooks and now Wilcox as the primary backups at least until Miles returns. Maye hasn’t participated in offseason workouts as he’s recovering from ankle surgery. Maye injured the ankle in the last game of the 2017 season against the Patriots.