On Tuesday the New York Jets announced that the team has released Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, Eric Smith, Jason Smith, and waived Josh Baker. The release of the four veterans players was expected as it gave the Jets a substantial amount of cap savings (approximately $29 million dollars).
Calvin Pace- From the Jets: “During his tenure, he led the Jets with 28 sacks and was responsible for 349 tackles, two interceptions, 12 passes defensed, 11 forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries, including one returned for a touchdown. In 10 NFL seasons, Pace has played in 139 games, including 110 starts, and accumulated 537 tackles, 42 sacks, three interceptions, 24 passes defensed, 16 forced fumbles, 10 fumble recoveries and a fumble return for a touchdown.”
When the Jets signed Pace many believed that he would be the 10-15 sack guy that the team desperately craved. While Calvin never put up those numbers he was a versatile linebacker that played many roles on defense. The release of Calvin Pace leaves the Jets without a proven outside linebacker on the roster.
Bart Scott- From the Jets: “Originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Baltimore in 2002 and signed with the Jets as an unrestricted free agent in 2009. In four seasons with the Jets, Scott recorded 342 tackles, 8.5 sacks, one interception, four passes defensed, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries for defensive units that finished each season no lower than eighth in the NFL in overall defense. For his career, Scott has played in 172 regular season games (118 starts), including a stretch of 119 consecutive games played, and recorded 850 tackles, 25 sacks, four interceptions, five forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries and 26 passes defensed.”
It has been a wild ride with Bart Scott as the outspoken linebacker brought a lot to the Jets both on and off the field. Scott played a huge part in helping Rex Ryan implement his attack style of defense and as well as assisted with the change of the culture in the locker room. Bart gave the Jets team some much needed “swag” after acting like robots under Eric Mangini. A part of me hopes that Bart Scott returns to the Jets with a more cap friendly contract. As of now Demario Davis is slated to replace Scott in the starting lineup.
Eric Smith- From the Jets: “Joined the Jets as a third-round selection in the 2006 NFL Draft. In seven seasons, Smith registered 310 tackles, 3.5 sacks, five interceptions, 29 passes defensed and three fumble recoveries on defense. He also was a stalwart on special teams, registering 93 tackles in addition to two blocked punts and a pass reception for 27 yards.”
Over the last couple of seasons Eric Smith has become “public enemy #1″ by Jets fans for a variety of reasons. Many times Smith found himself at the wrong place at the wrong time on the field and fans of Gang Green never failed to notice. At the same time Eric was a versatile player that battled through injuries and filled in admirably on special teams.
Jason Smith- From the Jets: “Was acquired by the Jets in a trade with St. Louis (08/27/12) and saw action in all 16 games in 2012 as a reserve offensive lineman and extra tight end. For his career, Smith has played in 45 games with 26 starts. He initially entered the NFL as a first-round selection by the Rams in 2009.”
A $12 million dollar cap hit with a $0 dead money charge if released. Jason did a decent job as a reserve lineman/sixth lineman but there is no way he was being kept at that price tag.
So what is the next move for Gang Green?
The moves made on Tuesday were no-brainers and gave the Jets much needed salary cap relief. The team is now approximately $7 million dollars underneath the cap and must continue to create additional space in order to rebuild the roster.
Release Tebow: The Jets have openly stated that they want to trade Tim Tebow, but at this point the team has zero leverage and will be forced to cut him. The sooner that this move happens the better, and it will give the team another million dollars in cap space.
Deal with Revis: As expected the Darrelle Revis contract saga has begun with the trade rumors already circulating. If the Jets were smart they would either trade Darrelle Revis or re-sign him prior to the draft. In my opinion Revis is going to be traded as the All-Pro defensive back has priced himself off the team. For more of a breakdown see : 5 reasons why the NY Jets will trade Darrelle Revis
Restructure time: The Jets have several high priced players that should be candidates for contract restructures. It will be interesting to see if the new general manager can work out arrangements with players like Santonio Holmes, David Harris, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Antonio Cromartie, Nick Mangold, and Sione Pouha. Many would like to see something done with Mark Sanchez but I have a hard time believing that the quarterback is giving up any guaranteed money.