Now it's official: The Vernon Gholston error is over.
The New York Jets made the anticipated move Wednesday, waiving the former first-round pick after his third straight season without a sack. But in a mild surprise, the team also released backup tight end Ben Hartsock.
Hartsock was a sturdy blocker and a key ingredient in the Jets' prolific rushing attack, but he was due to make $1.6 million -- and the Jets evidently felt that was prohibitive for a blocking tight end. They had been hoping that Hartsock would agree to a pay cut, according to a league source, but he evidently refused.
There's always the chance they could re-sign Hartsock. He had only one catch in the regular season, but he played approximately 43 percent of the offensive snaps in the postseason as one of their key reserves.
Gholston's ouster was expected for weeks -- he was a healthy scratch for all three playoff games -- and finally confirmed Monday in multiple reports. Gholston, the sixth overall pick in 2008, will be remembered as one of the biggest draft busts in history. That he didn't record a single sack in three seasons is almost hard to comprehend.
Since the beginning of the 2008 season, 617 players have recorded at least one sack, including 117 undrafted players.
It was an expensive mistake by the Jets, who signed Gholston to a five-year contract that included $21 million in guarantees.
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.