The move cleared a roster spot to sign veteran kicker Josh Brown, but more importantly the move signifies that the Jets are evidently very confident in their defensive line depth going into training camp.
Pitoitua, a hulking 6’8, 315 lb Samoan, was originally signed by the Jets in 2008 after going undrafted out of Washington State. He tore his Achilles tendon in 2010, and had trouble staying on the field in his career.
The 27-year-old Pitoitua got the most extensive playing time of his career last season, as he saw 341 total snaps on defense over 14 games, as part of the Jets’ defensive line rotation.
Also in the mix is veteran Mike DeVito, a starter at defensive end the last few years who battled nagging injuries last season. DeVito is an excellent run defender and will likely see a significant amount of snaps.
Marcus Dixon and Kenrick Ellis will likely see their roles increased with Pitoitua’s release. Dixon had a fine year in 2011, while Ellis did not see the field very much as a rookie after being selected in the 3rd round.
In addition to those six, the Jets also have Martin Tevaseu and Jay Richardson on their initial roster going into camp.
It’s not out of the question that we’ll start to see the Jets increase the frequency of their 4-3 alignments, which is what new defensive line coach Karl Dunbar has experience with.
At the end of the day, the Jets are pretty confident that their new and improved defensive line rotation will be exactly what they’re looking for. With Dunbar and Rex Ryan coaching them, they’ve got every reason to believe.