The New York Jets took steps towards clearing cap room by making several cuts Tuesday, and the man who was signed in 2009 to be their face of the franchise was among the cuts in linebacker Bart Scott. Along with Scott, tackle Jason Smith, safety Eric Smith, linebacker Calvin Pace and fullback/tight end Josh Baker were released.
“Every one of these players was a major contributor to our football team,” said Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan. “I was very impressed with Jason this past season while Bart, Calvin and Eric have been an instrumental part of our defense for the past four years. Josh came in as an undrafted free agent and earned a spot on our roster. They have the work ethic and attitude that you look for in players and they will always be New York Jets. It was an honor to coach each of these men. They are tremendous people as well as outstanding football players.”
Due to the Jets’ moves, Gang Green saves $27.7 million in cap space for the 2013 NFL season.
Scott, Mr. “Can’t Wait,” (a quote he made popular during an interview after pulling off a major upset against the New England Patriots during the playoffs in the 2010-11 season) accounted for $7.2 million.
New York saved a total of $20.6 million by releasing Calvin Pace ($8.6 million) and Eric Smith ($12 million), which would bring the Jets under the expected salary cap of $121.1 million for the 2013 season – not including the $3.4 million of unused cap money that will be rolled over from last year.
When Ryan signed to be the Jets’ head coach in 2009, he pressed hard to get Scott to join him in New York. Scott was looking for a serious payday when he became a free agent due to his solid performance as a member of the great Baltimore Ravens’ defense. After Ryan and Scott’s late night meeting, the undrafted free agent from Southern Illinois signed a six-year $48 million deal with the Jets at the beginning of the free agent signing period in February of 2009.
Since being a member of the Jets, Scott registered 342 tackles, 8.5 sacks, four passes defensed, three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and one interception during his four year stint with Gang Green.
Under Scott’s leadership, the Jets finished each year no lower than eighth in total defense.
However, the talkative Scott, 32, has not got along with the New York media, and refused to give interviews as he declared a media boycott nearly two seasons ago.
From personal experiences with Scott, he would rather stay low key. But what made Scott stand out was his ability to be a Charles-Barkley-type-figure of speaking his mind and not apologizing for it.
Scott was a solid leader for the Jets on the field, but his greatest strength was his ability to be a good teammate and help control the locker room.
Last season, he was hampered with a toe injury and it limited his ability to be consistently effective on the field. It’s a possibility that Scott may return to the Jets at a cap friendly deal. Though he probably didn’t live up to New York media’s expectations of being a dominate figure in the NFL, he certainly gave them tons to discuss.
Pace was a mainstay for the Jets during his tenure. Since signing as an unrestricted free agent in 2008, he led the team with 28 sacks and recorded a total of 349 tackles, two interceptions, 12 passes defensed, 11 forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries, including one returned for a touchdown.