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Nick Mangold is gone, and the rebuilding of the Jets is on

By releasing Nick Mangold on Saturday, the Jets wiped his $9.1 million cap charge off their books. Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire

That loud noise you just heard was the sound of the New York Jets' two-year window slamming shut.

The release of longtime center and fan favorite Nick Mangold on Saturday was the first bombshell of the offseason, the surest sign the anticipated housecleaning is underway.

Yes, Nick Folk, Breno Giacomini and Ryan Clady were previously dumped, but this was Nick Mangold, one of the most decorated players in franchise history.

Seven Pro Bowls. The heart, soul and brains of the offensive line. One of the last links to the almost-champion Jets (2009 and 2010). The guy who snapped for Chad Pennington, Brett Favre and Tim Tebow (barely).

The bearded guy who always dressed up as Santa Claus for Christmas functions (St. Nick, indeed) and the player who always donned an NYPD or FDNY cap or waved an American flag for patriotic-themed game days.

Now he's finished with the Jets, his $9.1 million cap charge wiped off their books. He wasn't offered a reduced salary. This was a clean and amicable parting.

Welcome to full-blown rebuilding.

When general manager Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles arrived two years ago, they looked at the roster and decided there was enough talent to make a two-year run. They went for it, diving into free agency and spending an obscene amount of money on Darrelle Revis.

The plan failed. They missed the playoffs both times, extending the postseason drought to six years.

Now, the overhaul.

They cleared $29.2 million in cap space by parting ways with Mangold, Folk, Giacomini, Clady and Erin Henderson, whose option wasn't exercised. This puts them close to $20 million under the cap.

More cuts are coming, as the focus shifts to Revis and David Harris, both of whom have replaced Mangold as the longest-tenured players on the team.

Revis almost certainly will be released on March 10, a $9 million cap savings. Like Mangold, he's a future member of the Jets' Ring of Honor, an all-time great. But he's not the same player who signed that mega-deal two years ago, not even close. His legal issues likely won't affect the team's decision because the Jets probably made it before his altercation in Pittsburgh.

Harris, the leader of the defense, is in no immediate danger of being released, sources said. Other names to watch are Brandon Marshall, Marcus Gilchrist, Calvin Pryor and Sheldon Richardson.

Most regimes start the teardown in Year 1. MacBowles took a different approach, postponing the inevitable for a shot at glory.

Glory never happened, and now the search begins for new players like Nick Mangold.

Good luck.