Jets begin a long, hard rebuild

The New York Jets made a series of expected cuts Tuesday. New York released veteran linebacker Calvin Pace, safety Eric Smith, offensive lineman Jason Smith and tight end Josh Baker, the team announced

It was only a matter of time before New York made wholesale changes under new general manager John Idzik. The Jets cleared $21.2 million of salary-cap room with these four cuts and are still about $2 million over the cap, ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton reports. In other words, this is just the beginning for the underachieving Jets, who finished 6-10 in 2012.

Due to poor cap management over the years by former general manager Mike Tannenbaum, the Jets are forced to undergo a youth movement. Other veterans such as linebacker Bart Scott and popular backup quarterback Tim Tebow shouldn't be too far behind in finding their way out of New York.

The Jets will miss Pace and Eric Smith, in particular. Both were contributors to New York’s back-to-back AFC title game appearances in 2009 and 2010.

But it will be a while before the Jets have a chance to reach that level again. Therefore, New York made a wise move to begin its long, hard rebuild by releasing four veterans on Tuesday.