As first reported by Metro New York over a week ago, the Jets have officially cut ties with linebackers Calvin Pace and Bart Scott. In addition, the team announced right tackle Jason Smith, safety Eric Smith and tight end Josh Baker have all been released.
Multiple team and league sources have told Metro New York that the Jets are willing to renegotiate a deal with Scott at a lesser cap hit. League sources tell Metro New York he’s also interested in a return to Baltimore or possibly playing for the crosstown rival, the Giants.
Scott is still seen as someone who can contribute to the Jets on and off the field, albeit at a reduced rate. He was slated to make $7 million in 2013.
Signed by the Jets as a free agent in 2008, Pace was seen as an ideal fit in the Jets' 3-4 scheme, but he produced diminishing results, including just 55 tackles and three sacks last season. Pace has always been an outspoken member of the locker room, frequently calling out teammates. This candor, combined with a cap savings of roughly $8.5 million, figured into the decision to release the veteran outside linebacker.
A team source said Pace is not expected back with the Jets at a lesser salary.
The move to cut ties with Eric Smith, a favorite of head coach Rex Ryan and a versatile player who also excelled on special teams, has more to do with the Jets wanting to retain free agent safety LaRon Landry in addition to developing young players Josh Bush and Antonio Allen. Eric Smith, valued for his ability to grasp the playbook and widely praised around the locker room, could be back on a contract with less of a salary camp implication. The move saves the team $3 million.
Jason Smith was a former first-round pick who was acquired last preseason in a trade that sent whipping boy Wayne Hunter to the Rams. A team source said Jason Smith could be willing to come back for the 2013 season at a greatly reduced rate provided he was willing to play a versatile role on the offensive line. It is a role similar to what Hunter and Rob Turner have played with the Jets in previous seasons. He would have made $12 million next season.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.