New York Jets

With the New York Jets much-improved defense still hindered by the range of their linebackers, Gang Green needs to move on from Demario Davis.

By Jeremy Fialkow

Are you still haunted by the nightmares of an aging Bart Scott anchoring the New York Jets‘ defense, who was unable to run from sideline-to-sideline like any professional athlete should?

I wouldn’t doubt it.

Scott’s departure had a more ominous impact to the Jets future than you’d expect.

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His retirement in 2012 paved the way for the drafting of his replacement, Demario Davis, to step in alongside Jets-lifer David Harris in leading the defense. The Jets took a flyer on Davis, a talented, high-ceiling linebacker from Arkansas State, in the third-round of the NFL Draft.

Four years later, the player once thought of as the future leading-tackler for Gang Green is unemployed. A first-time free agent, Davis, 27, will not be re-signed, according to Jets’ sources.

I kid you not.

The loudmouth, that of Former Head Coach Rex Ryan, once likened Davis to Hall-of-Fame middle linebacker Ray Lewis, comparing their leadership qualities and tackling ability.

Well, one thing is certain: Demario Davis will have a much different path to stardom than Lewis.

After posting 100+ tackles in his sophomore and junior campaign with New York, Davis figured to pick up where he left off and become a major presence in Todd Bowles‘ defensive scheme. Instead, he regressed mightily in 2015, losing himself millions of dollars in the process.

Due to his inadequacies in pass-coverage, Davis became a part-time linebacker for Bowles, serving as half of a two-man rotation with Erin Henderson over New York’s final six games. His 81% of snaps played was the lowest total since his rookie season, and his 16 missed tackles were his most.

Davis’s final stat-line with the Jets: 337 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 1 interception, 4 fumble recoveries, 0 forced fumbles. Obviously, not nearly enough production to justify a new contract.

It is clearly time to move on, and GM Mike Maccagnan knows it. With the 20th pick in a loaded 2016 defensive draft class, the Jets find themselves in prime position to snag an interior linebacker such as Alabama’s Reggie Ragland or a hybrid linebacker like Georgia’s Leonard Floyd.

So it looks like happy trails to Davis.

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Jeremy Fialkow was born and raised in Miami, FLA, but currently studies at the University of Maryland. When he's not studying hard, he can be found supporting his sometimes hopeless NY teams: Knicks, Mets, Jets, and Isles. Your sympathy is appreciated.