Just a year after signing Sione Po’uha to a three-year, $15 million contract the Jets have released the 34-year-old nose tackle.
Back issues were a constant problem for Po’uha last season and when he was actually able to get on the field he didn’t resemble anything close to the Po’uha of year’s past, as he constantly got pushed around.
Releasing Po’uha frees up $3.8 million in cap space for the Jets to devote elsewhere while also changing the dynamic of the defensive line. The Jets have already decided to make a push to re-sign Mike DeVito and they could use some of this money to ensure they can sign DeVito and still have enough money to plug a couple of other holes. If the Jets can re-sign DeVito they will have a d-line of Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, Mike DeVito and Kendrick Ellis to build on.
This gives the Jets a few different options to play with. They could run 3-4 fronts with either DeVito or Ellis inside and Coples and Wilkerson on the edges, but they could also use Coples inside as he was at his most disruptive when rushing from the inside. They’ll also run some 4-3 fronts switching Coples and DeVito from inside to out depending on the play-call and it also opens up the possibility for the Jets to consider drafting a defensive tackle at some point in the draft, maybe even in the early rounds.
Po’uha was a fan/coach/player favorite as he worked his way up from the practice squad to gritty underrated run-stopper to becoming more than deserving of that three-year, $15 million contract, but at age 34 all it takes is one year of back problems to change his value and new GM John Idzik decided he’d rather have the $3.8 million in cap space than the aging nose tackle with back issues.
The Jets already made one big round of cuts when they released Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Eric Smith and Jason Smith and they will continue to look to make other moves within their roster to free up cap space (restructuring or releasing Holmes, releasing Tebow, possibly restructuring David Harris and D’Brickashaw Ferguson deals) as they prepare to be as active as possible in free agency this year.
UPDATE: The Chiefs have reportedly agreed to a deal with DeVito.