The Rundown: What’s Next for Jets Linebackers?

Brian Bassett , TheJetsBlog.com

A few years ago, it was the defensive line that needed a massive overhaul, now heading into the 2013 offseason, the linebacking corps is the group that will likely get some serious attention this offseason.  While the group has historically been very capable edge-setters and run-stoppers, the unit could look to get much younger and more aggressive in pass-rushing this offseason.

Some players might not be back because they’ll be cut, but some might not be back of their own accord.  Yesterday Bryan Thomas told Metro that he’s mulling retirement this year.

Thomas will be 34 years old by the start of next season and is openly contemplating retirement.

“I’m going to think about it after the last game ends, get a little rest then start thinking about. The injuries — going from not missing games the past two years, it has been tough,” Thomas told Metro. “Experiencing what I experienced last year and now the hamstring and the shoulder, wow. The [right] shoulder, I’ve had problems with that. But now, man, all I can say is this is tough. I’m not used to this at all.”

[…]

“When stuff starts adding up back-to-back with the injuries, it isn’t a good sign,” Thomas said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. It is a tough decision but I’ve never gone through anything like I’m going through now. I just don’t know man.”

Thomas might have the right of it, once injuries start compounding, it’s only going to get tougher and tougher to stay in the game.  So while he might have a place on the Jets in 2013 if he’s will to take a vet-min deal, it most likely won’t be as a starter as the team looks in different directions.

Thomas will be missed.  A backup for the first handful of years in his career, he started getting more attention in 2004 when John Abraham sat out the playoffs and Thomas played in his stead.  Still, it wasn’t until 2006 when John Abraham was traded that the former first rounder got his chance to start for Eric Mangini.  Thomas put together an impressive 8.5 sack year in 2006, something fans hoped was as sign of things to come.  While he never totaled that sack number again, for the Jets Thomas was always most valuable with his versatility as an OLB.  Thomas was equally adept setting the edge or dropping into shallow coverages and last year Mike Pettine said he was harder to replace than he had expected when he went down with injury.

Of course, Thomas isn’t the only linebacker thinking of the future.  Yesterday Bart Scott told reporters he’d be amenable to staying with the Jets at a reduced salary.

Bart Scott might still have a future with the Jets. The veteran linebacker, who has a two-year contract, is scheduled to make $6.9 million next season, a price the team surely isn’t willing to pay. But Scott told the Daily News he would consider playing for less to stay with the Jets. How much of a cut, however, is unknown. Still, the likely course of action during the offseason is that Scott will be cut and then could possibly return for a lower salary depending on the team’s situation.

Well, of course he would be open to staying, .  Because this season he’s 100% cuttable by the Jets and he’s not guaranteed any more money.  Last year that wasn’t the case.  It’s nice that he wants to stay, and if the Jets feel like bolstering their depth with a player with his skills at a veteran minimum price, then they should go for it, but at this point they need to move on from him as a starter.  Last season we saw the decline and this year it was very evident.

The Jets have players further down their roster like Ricky Sapp and Garrett McIntyre that might play larger roles in coming years, but they are going to need to use the next two games to really find out whether they are going to be up to the task and how seriously they are going to invest in the draft or free agency.




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