The revamping of the Jets defense could start as early as next week with the team expected to release or cut ties with several prominent pieces from the past several seasons.Metro New York has learned from team and league sources that the Jets are expected to cut linebackers Calvin Pace and Bart Scott and will not being bring back Bryan Thomas, the team’s longest tenured player. All three players had a key role in the Jets team that made consecutive AFC Championship game appearances in 2009 and 2010.
The move gives the Jets salary cap flexibility, including Pace’s cap value of $11.5 million and Scott’s cap value of $8.65 million. In December, Metro New York broke the news that Thomas was contemplating retirement.
One source said the Jets are open to bringing either Pace or Scott back at a reduced salary on a one- or two-year deal. The source indicated that Thomas, who is currently embroiled in domestic legal matters resulting from an arrest late last season, likely won’t be back with the team even if he tried to extend his NFL career. He was a first-round pick in 2002 and has played a solid NFL career solely with the Jets.
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Reports over the past week have indicated that tackle Jason Smith and safety Eric Smith will also be cut as the Jets continue to look for increased flexibility under the cap.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.