Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- The New York Jets cut linebackers Bart Scott and Calvin Pace in a five-player purge to move the team closer to the National Football League’s salary cap.
The Jets also released offensive lineman Jason Smith, a No. 2 draft pick, and safety Eric Smith, and placed tight end Josh Baker on waivers, the team said in an e-mailed release.
The moves will save the team $24.2 million under the NFL’s payroll limit and leave them about $2 million above the cap, according To ESPN.
“Every one of these players was a major contributor to our football team,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said in the release. “They have the work ethic and attitude that you look for in players.”
The Jets were 6-10 in 2012 and allowed 375 points, their highest total since 1996. This offseason, special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff retired, offensive coordinator Tony Sparano was fired and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine took the same job with the Buffalo Bills. General Manager Mike Tannenbaum also was fired.
Scott, 32, came to New York in 2009 when Ryan, his defensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens, was named coach. He missed just one game in his four years with the team, and recorded 342 tackles and 8 1/2 sacks.
Scott also was fined $10,000 for cursing and making an obscene gesture to photographers following the 2011 season, and last season declared a media boycott in the locker room. The New York Daily News said that in September that he threatened a reporter who tried to take his picture.
Pace, 32, had 28 sacks and forced 11 fumbles in five seasons with the Jets. He was due to make $11.6 million next year, ESPN said.
Jason Smith was selected with the second pick in the 2009 NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams. He was traded to the Jets last year and appeared in all 16 games.
Eric Smith had five interceptions in seven seasons with the Jets. Baker spent the 2012 season on injured reserve.
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