Battling salary-cap limitations, the Jets lost one of their priority free agents, as DT Mike DeVito signed a three-year, $12.6 million contract Tuesday with the Chiefs, according to a league source. He received a $4.2 million signing bonus.
The Jets made a strong push to re-sign DeVito before the start of free agency, especially after releasing longtime NT Sione Po’uha. Just like that, their top two interior linemen are gone.
DeVito, who turns 29 in June, drew considerable interest because he’s a strong run defender who can play in 4-3 and 3-4 schemes. He will be reunited with former Jets linebackers coach Bob Sutton, the Chiefs' new defensive coordinator under Andy Reid.
This was a blow to coach Rex Ryan, whose once-formidable defense is being gutted. Right now, the Jets have only four returning starters under contract -- and CB Darrelle Revis is on the trading block.
DeVito arrived as an undrafted free agent and cracked the starting lineup in his fourth year, 2010, proving steady play against the run. He played 59 percent of the defensive snaps last season, second among the linemen.
The Jets made DeVito take a pay cut last year after drafting his heir apparent, Coples. Ryan immediately named Coples the starter, but the change never occurred, as DeVito proved to be one of the most consistent players on defense.
DeVito finished with 46 solo tackles, one sack and two forced fumbles last season.