Jets sign underrated free agent LB Bart Scott

One of the small notions when it comes to the NFL offseason is never to sign a free agent defender from the Baltimore Ravens. Because usually once they get out of the Ravens’ 3-4 defensive scheme, they never live up to their high free agent billing. (See Ed Hartwell for just one example.)

But considering the man that ran the Ravens’ defense for the better part of a decade is now the head coach for the New York Jets, it was probably safe to take the chance on Baltimore free agent linebacker Bart Scott.

According to the National Football Post, the Jets signed Scott to a multi-year deal on Friday, which Adam Schefter of the NFL Network reports will probably be worth roughly $8 mil a year. Scott will reunite with his former defensive coordinator, Rex Ryan, who is now the Jets new head coach.

Scott was overshadowed by teammates Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs over the past couple years, but he’s one of the more underrated linebackers in the AFC. Over the past three seasons, he’s posted at least 60 solo tackles and in 2005, he added 9.5 sacks and two interceptions. Scott has good size and strength and he’s an excellent tackler. He also can be an effective blitzer and at 28, he still has plenty of football left in him.

Scott will hopefully shore up a linebacker position that was a weak spot for the Jets’ defense last year. Scott will join David Harris in the middle of NY’s 3-4 defense, while ’08 free agent signing Calvin Pace will occupy one outside linebacker spot and Bryan Thomas will battle first round disappointment Vernon Gholston on the other.

The key will be what Ryan can do with Gholston, who is a physical marvel and a pass-rushing talent, but was also completely befuddled in his rookie season and didn’t get onto the field much. If Ryan could somehow turn Gholston into a junior Terrell Suggs, the Jets will have one of the better linebacker corps in the league next year.

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