The tough decisions continue this offseason for the New York Jets, and defensive tackle Sione Pouha has been a prime candidate for either a restructuring or a release. Per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, the Jets have chosen to release the 34-year-old, top-flight run-stuffer.
Pouha’s release clears $3.8 million in salary cap space, and that’s absolutely huge for the Jets in the league’s worst financial situation. The Jets are significantly closer to a healthy cap after the decision to drop Pouha, but Pouha was an effective player for the Jets. One of the league’s best run defenders, Pouha was a fixture for the Jets on the interior of the defensive line, and he constantly ate- or shed- blockers and plugged up holes.
After a sensational 2011 season, Pouha fell off the cliff last season due to a serious back injury. Although he did not need surgery following an MRI, nagging back issues for a DT at the age of 34 don’t usually paint a good picture for a player’s future. Pouha’s injury last season, age, and huge base salary made him an ideal release candidate for the Jets, and John Idzik and the front office made the right move here.
He does leave a void on the defensive line, though, because Pouha is a very good player when healthy. We’ll see where he ends up following his release, and teams in need of run-stopping help would do well to at least call up Pouha. The Jets will be hoping that Kendrick Ellis can fill Pouha’s spot in the line-up, while 3-4 teams in need of a nose tackle should be taking a close look at Pouha.
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