The New York Jets cuts have begun. Eric Smith, Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Jason Smith and Josh Baker are no longer members of the New York Jets. Four of these moves – the cuts of Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Eric Smith and Jason Smith – are part of a major salary cap adjustment by John Idzik and his staff in an effort to put the team in a position to be a player in free agency this offseason. The team announced the moves via its Twitter account.
All of these cuts by the New York Jets were expected, especially the group of big salaries (Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Eric Smith and Jason Smith). Josh Baker was waived after an injury ended his season prematurely in 2012, when he was expected to win the fullback job over John Conner. The moves take about $30 million off the top of the salary cap.
The Jets were about $20 million over the salary cap, and the moves come along with about $4.5 million in dead money. That will put the Jets below the salary cap threshold. No sense getting into exact numbers at this point because there are more moves to come.
Bart Scott was the first player Rex Ryan went to go see when free agency opened in 2009, his first offseason as Jets head coach. Bart Scott provided the attitude and edge Rex Ryan wanted to bring over from the Baltimore Ravens, and he was a stout defender for the Jets during their playoff years. He acted as a facilitator for David Harris; however, Scott's tackling numbers have declined, so the Jets decided it wasn't a financially good decision to keep him around. Demario Davis will be expected to take Scott's place
Eric Smith's greatest value was to the Jets on special teams. A smart player and a good tackler, Eric Smith was blasted at times for his issues in coverage. In the 2010 postseason, with Jim Leonhard on the bench, Smith was excellent and led the team in tackles. In many ways he was a linebacker playing safety. With the additions of Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry, his playing time on defense declined greatly this past season.
Calvin Pace was brought over from the Arizona Cardinals as a free agent to be a big-time pass rusher as an outside linebacker in 2008, and he was expected to excel in Rex Ryan's 3-4 defense when Ryan became head coach in 2009. That never really happened. After recording seven and eight sacks in 2008 and 2009, respectively, Calvin Pace has totaled just 12.5 sacks over the last three seasons.
The subtraction of Jason Smith will hardly be felt as few are going to really miss him as an extra tight end in jumbo sets. The Jets traded Wayne Hunter to the St. Louis Rams to acquire Jason Smith during training camp.
The Jets have been expected to make these cuts for a long time now. Expected to be under the salary cap now, what many in the organization have referred to as a fresh start finally feels like one.