FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Calvin Pace’s road back to the New York Jets this season wasn’t easy, but after being cut and rehired, the 33-year-old linebacker, a veteran of 11 NFL seasons, said he’s got more football in him.
“I've got a couple more [years],” Pace said, “[if] somebody wants me. But just focus on these last two and whatever happens after that happens.”
Pace has nine sacks this season, a career high, and leads all current Jets with 37 sacks since joining team in 2008.
He was released last February by the team, when keeping him would have meant a prohibitive $11.6 million cap charge at the end of a six-year, $42 million deal signed in 2008. In April, the Jets re-signed Pace on a one-year deal.
“This is what they envisioned for me to be doing,” Pace said. “My role before this year was a lot more, a lot more on my plate. This year we’re doing a little more four-man rush so that helps me out a lot, but whatever they ask me to do is what I do.”
Pace has been playing this season behind a defensive front with a lot of potential, something that has made his job easier.
“When I’m behind a guy like Muhammad [Wilkerson] or Sheldon [Richardson], it’s easier because these guys draw a certain amount of attention,” Pace said. “They’re not really looking for the old man to go in there and make a play.”
Richardson said he’d like to see Pace stick around a little longer.
“Most definitely want to see him on the same sideline as me. I've helped him get a lot of his nine sacks. If he didn't want to give me the credit, I’ll most definitely take it myself," Richardson said, laughing. "Nah, but it’s been great. He helped me with the playbook a lot, as far as dropping in coverage, what he would do in some situations. He’s been everything he needed to be as a vet, look up to him, talk to him, everything.”
The Jets will have to make a decision on the veteran during the offseason, one way or another.