Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Reaction: Po'uha release may affect draft
By Rich Cimini
Quick thoughts on the Jets' decision to release longtime NT Sione Po'uha:
Sione Po'uha spent eight years with the Jets.
1. It stinks. Po'uha is one of the most respected players in the locker room, and the team will dearly miss his leadership. This could have an impact on the young linemen, namely Quinton Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson, who looks up to Po'uha. Clearly, the Jets expect Wilkerson to take on more of a leadership role in his third year, even if Mike DeVito returns.
2. Why did the Jets do this? It came down to the AIS principle that triggers these types of moves: Age. Injury. Salary. Po'uha is 34, coming off a season in which he struggled with a bad back. Plus, he was due to make $4.9 million -- which would have become guaranteed Thursday if he were still on the roster. The move creates $3.8 million in cap room.
3. The Jets can't possibly think Kenrick Ellis is ready to become a full-time player. The former third-round pick has been slow to develop and is simply too raw to anchor the defense. He played only 22 percent of the defensive snaps last season. This tells me the Jets will be in the market for a new nose tackle. The top interior lineman in the draft is Star Lotulelei from Utah (Po'uha's alma mater), who could be available with the ninth overall pick. This becomes a real possibility for the Jets.
4. Without Po'uha, the Jets have to increase their efforts to re-sign DeVito, another strong interior run defender. If they let him hit the open market, he could end up signing with the Bills, reunited with former Jets coordinator Mike Pettine. DeVito and Po'uha are close friends. In essence, the Jets are trying to re-sign DeVito with the money they saved from cutting Po'uha. What a business, huh?