Rex Ryan: Bart Scott likely back

Updated: March 27, 2012, 4:49 PM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott, whose future appeared uncertain after the season, will be on the team for the upcoming season, coach Rex Ryan said Tuesday.

"Yeah, I certainly think so," Ryan said at the NFL meetings. "I know everything has been reported, but I can say this: I've had great discussions with Bart."

Jets owner Woody Johnson, in a sit-down interview Tuesday afternoon with two reporters at the league meetings, also said he expects Scott to return.

"I think he's going to be back," Johnson said. "Why wouldn't he be back? He's under contract. We pay him. We like him. He's a leader in the locker room. He's an amazing player."

Team officials met with Scott's agent at the NFL scouting combine last month to discuss the linebacker's future. Scott was "extremely frustrated" with his diminished role last season, his agent, Harold Lewis, said at the time.

The Jets have shopped Scott in trade talks, according to sources, but his $4.2 million salary is guaranteed -- scaring off potential suitors. There is no off-set in the contract, meaning the Jets are on the hook for the entire salary.

Ryan said Scott, who turns 32 in August, has dropped weight in the offseason, adding that he expects the weight loss to help Scott improve his speed. Scott was removed on passing downs last season.

"Bart's got his weight down," Ryan said. "He felt he probably got a little too heavy last year. We were going to use him as a blitzer and he got his weight up. He's going to drop that weight back down a little. I think sometimes the longer you go in your career, sometimes it's better to lose a little weight ... Bart is still a ferocious hitter. He brings that kind of intimidating presence to us."

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. 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.

Scott signed a six-year, $48 million contract with the Jets in 2009, following Ryan from the Baltimore Ravens. In fact, Ryan showed up at Scott's Maryland doorstep at midnight to begin recruiting him as a free agent.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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