Updated 2:54 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Feb. 19
The Jets began clearing cap space on Tuesday by announcing the release of veterans OLB Calvin Pace, ILB Bart Scott S Eric Smith and OT Jason Smith.
They also waived TE Josh Baker.
Pace had been with the Jets since 2008, starting every game in ’08 and the past two seasons. The 32-year old has 42 career sacks — 28 with the Jets. He began his career with the Cardinals.
Following the announcement that Pace had been cut, multiple reports indicated Scott's agent would meet with the Jets at the Combine on Thursday to see if the veteran could stay in Gang Green with a reduced salary. Instead, the Jets later announced Scott's release.
Scott came to New York from Baltimore with Rex Ryan in 2008. He had 60 tackles and 2½ sacks in 15 games and 13 starts last season. Scott, who will be 33 at the start of next season, played in every game from 2005-11 and has 732 career tackles.
Eric Smith entered the league with the Jets in 2006. He played in 12 games with two starts last season and had 16 tackles and four passes defensed. He started 14 games in 2011 and has 25 passes defensed and six picks in his career.
Jason Smith, the former No. 2 overall pick by the Rams, joined the Jets last season and appeared in all 16 games as an extra blocker and reserve tackle. From 2009-11, Smith started 26 games for St. Louis.
Baker played in 11 games last season and had three catches for 27 yards and one touchdown.
The moves reportedly cleared over $30 million of cap space.
The way we see it
The Jets’ cuts were expected — new GM John Idzik knew he had plenty of work to do because of the salary-cap situation. The moves further magnify some big holes in the back end on defense, though. With the release of Eric Smith, the top safeties under contract are 2012 draft picks Antonio Allen and Josh Bush.
At linebacker, there is more depth with Demario Davis, Garrett McIntyre and Josh Mauga, but finding a pass rusher to replace Pace will be key. Davis is expected to start alongside returnee David Harris, and he showed flashes last season, but the others do not have starting experience. Scott had lost a step over the past couple seasons, but was still a good run stopper and vocal leader, and that void will need to be filled.