Jets linebacker David Harris knew there would be change.
But the degree of change to the Jets defense was still alarming to him, and walking into a meeting room and not recognizing many people was an eye-opener.
“It was expected when you have a six-win season and a new general manager,” Harris said, via Brian Costello of the New York Post. “Pretty much they destroyed it to rebuild it.”
The Jets cut linebacker Bart Scott, defensive tackle Sione Pouha, safety Eric Smith and outside linebacker Calvin Pace (later re-signing him). They held the door open for defensive tackle Mike DeVito and safeties Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry to sign with other teams in the early days of free agency, while they’ve made no effort to retain outside linebacker Bryan Thomas.
There was also that other guy they traded, Darrelle Revis — you know, the best cornerback in the NFL.
“It was weird the first day, to be honest,” Harris said. “You’re so used to seeing certain guys in the same room with you. One thing I’ve learned about the NFL is just like the real world, the more you stay around the more your friends start disappearing. It’s no different.”
Of all the moves, losing Revis was the toughest for him to take. They were drafted together in 2007 and roomed together in training camp.
“That was hard to see,” he said. “He came in the same year as I did. We built a real good relationship with each other. That’s just one of the nasty sides of pro football. It’s a business like everything else.”
Of course, of all the moves, the Revis one was perhaps the only one other GMs might not have made in the same situation. The Jets were getting old together, and spending on aging players, role guys and safeties is hard when the cap is tight and there are so many other problems on the other side of the ball.
Coupled with head coach Rex Ryan taking more control of the defense again, it’s going to be a year of change for the Jets. But probably one they needed, to make themselves more stable for the long-term.