New York Jets Allow Bart Scott to Seek Trade: What It Means for Both Sides

Erik FrenzSenior Writer IFebruary 27, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 18:  Bart Scott #57 of the New York Jets talks with head coach Rex Ryan during the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 18, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Six weeks after the painful loss to the Dolphins and two weeks before the start of the new league year, the New York Jets can't wait to get their offseason started.

According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, the Jets have given linebacker Bart Scott permission to seek a trade.

It was a good marriage for two years, with head coach Rex Ryan having first courted Scott at his home during the 2009 offseason. It got ugly in 2011, though, and the problems that come with long-term commitment began to creep up.

Age began to set in, and Scott lost playing time as a result.

This isn't the worst possible ending for the marriage—if it is, indeed, the end.

And in the midst of such turmoil, there are always questions that remain unanswered.


Bart Scott: Who's Willing to Take The Risk?

Scott will have a hard time finding takers. He will be 32 at the start of next season and is due $4.2 million in base salary, according to RotoWorld. A team that trades for him will likely ask him to rework his deal, and according to Shalise Manza Young of The Boston Globe, that could present a problem.

not surprised to see report Jets to let Bart Scott seek trade, but 1 of 2 things has to happen: a team willing to take on big $$ he has...

— shalise manza young (@shalisemyoung) February 27, 2012

...or Scott has to agree to leave $$ on table to leave Jets, as Moss did to come to NE in 07

— shalise manza young (@shalisemyoung) February 27, 2012

According to Sporting News, it culminated with a $10,000 middle finger and Scott telling reporters, "All I know is I've got a guaranteed contract for $4 million." And it may be that simple fact that forces the two sides to remain a pair.

It's not totally out of the question, although it would involve a big pay cut for Scott, and the Jets wouldn't receive much compensation for him.

Given the circumstances, though, how many teams will be willing to take a chance on this guy?

As if his character concerns weren't big enough, he's not even productive. In the pass-happy NFL, his lack of speed and his inability to play passing downs make him an undesirable option at inside linebacker for any team. That showed for Scott in 2011; according to Pro Football Focus, he had the fewest snaps of his Jets career (677 out of 1,051, 64.4 percent).


New York Jets Still Need Another Inside Linebacker

Scott's role as a two-down linebacker doesn't mean that he doesn't still have to be replaced. There will be a few available in the draft, though it appears they'll just miss out on the Luke Kuechly sweepstakes, with the Philadelphia Eagles picking right before them.

But hey, it wouldn't be the first time the Jets have traded up for a player they really liked. 

Even if he's gone, the Jets could be interested in a linebacker like Alabama's Dont'a Hightower, who can play several different positions at linebacker and has experience in Nick Saban's 3-4 alignment. He seems like the type of person the Jets could really use in their locker room and as a future leader for the defense.


An Expensive Headache

As Pro Football Talk's Gregg Rosenthal points out, the Jets are paying the consequences of restructuring Bart Scott's deal last year. Because of that, they are locked into his $4.2 million salary this year unless they trade him. 

There’s no chance Scott would get that much guaranteed money on the open market. So there’s even less of a chance that a team will give up a draft pick in order to pay Scott. The bigger question following this news: Will the Jets simply cut Scott when they find no takers for him?

$4.2 million is a lot to spend on a bottle of aspirin, but could it be worth it to get rid of the headache of keeping Bart Scott around?

At the disappointing end of the 2011 season, Rex Ryan gave a speech to the team about needing to come together and have good chemistry. Scott was seen as one of the primary perpetrators behind the combustible chemistry experiment's explosion.

Any commitment to improve unity starts with making the tough decisions, and if the Jets aren't willing to sever the ties on $4.2 million worth of cap space to repair the unity of the team, they're not truly committed to it.