The New York Jets have released LB Calvin Pace, LB Bart Scott, S Eric Smith and T Jason Smith. The team has also waived FB/TE Josh Baker.
"Every one of these players was a major contributor to our football team," said 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."
Pace (6'4", 265) signed with the Jets as an unrestricted free agent in 2008. During his tenure, he led the Jets with 28 sacks and was responsible for 349 tackles, two interceptions, 12 passes defensed, 11 forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries, including one returned for a touchdown. In 10 NFL seasons, Pace has played in 139 games, including 110 starts, and accumulated 537 tackles, 42 sacks, three interceptions, 24 passes defensed, 16 forced fumbles, 10 fumble recoveries and a fumble return for a touchdown.
Scott (6'2", 242) entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Baltimore in 2002 and signed with the Jets as an unrestricted free agent in 2009. In four seasons with the Jets, he recorded 342 tackles, 8.5 sacks, one interception, four passes defensed, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries for defensive units that finished each season no lower than eighth in the NFL in overall defense. For his career, Scott has played in 172 regular-season games (118 starts), including a stretch of 119 consecutive games played, and recorded 850 tackles, 25 sacks, four interceptions, five forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries and 26 passes defensed.
Eric Smith (6'1", 207) joined the Jets as a third-round selection in the 2006 NFL Draft. In seven seasons, he registered 310 tackles, 3.5 sacks, five interceptions, 29 passes defensed and three fumble recoveries on defense. He also was a stalwart on special teams, registering 93 tackles in addition to two blocked punts and a pass reception for 27 yards.
Jason Smith (6'5", 305) was acquired by the Jets in a trade with St. Louis on Aug. 27 and saw action in all 16 games in 2012 as a reserve offensive lineman and extra tight end. For his career, he has played in 45 games with 26 starts. He entered the NFL as a first-round selection by the Rams in 2009.
Baker (6'3", 224) joined the Jets as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2011 and played in 11 games as a rookie. He spent the entire 2012 season on injured reserve (knee) after he was waived/injured Aug. 27.