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Once regarded as the centerpiece of Rex Ryan's defense, Bart Scott appears to be on the way out after three seasons with the New York Jets.Team officials met with Scott's agent at the NFL scouting combine to discuss the linebacker's future. Agent Harold Lewis said Monday he told the Jets that Scott was "extremely frustrated" in his diminished role last season, and that it was "destroying him" not to be utilized as he was in his first two seasons.
Lewis said a potential trade was discussed, but he claimed he didn't request a trade and nor has he received permission to seek one. But that could be a matter of semantics at this point. Scott's "ultimate goal" is to stay with the Jets, according to Lewis, who added: "If we can't fix what's broken, there will be other opportunities."
Scott, 32, would go to the linebacker-needy New York Giants "in a heartbeat," Lewis said.
From all indications, the Jets are prepared to part ways with Scott, whose playing time decreased last season as he was removed on passing downs late in the year. The problem is, Scott's $4.2 million base salary is guaranteed. There is no off-set in the contract, meaning the Jets are on the hook for the entire salary.
Scott took a $1 million pay cut last summer, helping the team create much-needed cap space. In return, he received the guarantee for 2012 -- a move the Jets probably regret. Ultimately, they probably will have to eat the money. Scott's current cap charge is $5.9 million, but the Jets wouldn't get relief from that, either, because of the amount of "dead" money that would hit the cap.
The Jets almost certainly will try to trade Scott in an attempt to recoup a late-round draft pick, but it's highly unlikely another team would be willing to take on his current contract. He'd have to restructure the deal to facilitate a trade. Financially, it would benefit Scott to get cut. That way, he'd be able to sign a new contract and "double dip," so to speak.
As much as it would hurt them cap-wise, the Jets want to get younger and faster on defense, and they also want to clean up their turmoil-ridden locker room of disgruntled players. Scott stewed last season when he was removed from certain packages that allowed him to blitz, according to Lewis. He also was replaced by the inexperienced Josh Mauga in coverage situations.
Lewis said he expects Scott to meet with Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine in the near future in an attempt to resolve the situation.
Three years ago, Scott arrived with considerable fanfare. He followed Ryan from the Baltimore Ravens to the Jets, signing a six-year, $48 million contract on the first day of free agency. It was a steep price, but Ryan felt Scott's intangibles -- namely, his toughness and swagger -- would add to the foundation of the defense.
Scott's frustration became evident at the end of the Jets' disappointing 8-8 season, when he directed an obscene gesture at a photographer in the locker room. He was fined $10,000 by the team.Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.