Any day now, the New York Jets are expected to formally release a few veteran players, including linebacker Bart Scott, who has two years left on his six-year contract that he signed with the Jets prior to the 2009 season.
Cutting Bart Scott would save the Jets approximately $7 million in 2013 cap space, and $8 million in 2014, according to Jason Fitzgerald of NYJetscap.com, who does an outstanding job breaking down cap situations.
Anybody who’s read my work over the last few years knows that Scott is a favorite of mine, and although the man they call the “Madbacker” is getting up there in age, I believe he’s still capable of playing good football.
Scott just finished up his 11th NFL season, and he’ll be 33 years old at the start of the 2013 season. I have no doubt that he will help a team this upcoming season, but the question is, which team will that be?
It wasn’t too long ago, 2010 to be exact, that Scott was one of the best inside linebackers in football, selflessly blowing up running plays by doing the dirty work that few are even willing, much less able, to do.
Scott’s speciality has always been that kamikaze style of linebacking, blowing up plays before they could develop, making life a living hell for the fullbacks who had the misfortune of meeting him at the point of attack.
Some would say that Scott lost a step in 2012, which is a fair observation. However, Scott played most of the 2012 season with a shoe nearly two sizes too big on his right foot to accommodate the padding on an injured toe.
Unfortunately for Scott, as the modern day fullback has begun to get phased out of the NFL, so has the fullback-destroying role that Scott has perfected for over a decade. That role is just not nearly as crucial as it once was.
The Jets are definitely looking to get younger at linebacker, and that includes 2012 third-rounder Demario Davis, who was drafted to be the heir apparent to Bart Scott and play alongside David Harris in the middle.
However, even if the Jets want to groom Davis for a starting linebacker job, neither he or Harris have proven that they can handle Scott’s role. Quite frankly, few linebackers in the NFL can.
Scott is a leader on the field and in the locker room, and it’s awfully difficult to replace a guy like him.
The NFL is becoming more and more of a passing league, but having a guy like Bart Scott on your roster is still a great thing to have. He may not be the every-down linebacker he used to be, but he’s far from washed up, too.
If the Jets decide not to re-sign Scott at a more affordable salary, there will be other teams out there happy to sign him up. I wish him well in his future endeavors. I just hope his future includes another season in Jets green.