After the season is over, many people are going to suggest that the New York Jets should re-sign Calvin Pace to another one-year deal. Most will point to his ten sack season as proof that "he's still got it!"
That would be a dumb move by John Idzik.
It would be pure box score scouting, and it would stunt the development of the other outside linebackers on the team. It isn't the right long-term move for the team and they can do better. They should want to do better.
I decided to look at all of Pace's ten sacks (including full and partial sacks) with as open of a mind as I could muster. Here's what I found:
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - This was a valid sack.
- Buffalo Bills - This sack came as E.J. Manuel was scrambling. Technically, it's a sack, but truthfully, it's a tackle-for loss.
- Tennessee Titans - Pace was matched up against a running back and managed to bring Jake Locker down as he was scrambling.
- Pittsburgh Steelers - Leger Douzable had already half-pulled Ben Roethlisberger to the ground, so this sack was nothing more than Pace jumping on top of the pile.
- New England Patriots - This was a valid sack.
- New Orleans Saints - Pace was matched up against Jimmy Graham who did not recognize Pace's blitz nor did he even lay a finger on him. Pace was completely untouched here. Even I could have made this sack.
- Buffalo Bills - Pace was actually in coverage here and hit Manuel as he was scrambling and crossing the line of scrimmage. I'm not sure how this wasn't counted as a tackle instead of a sack, as it looked like Manuel had already crossed the line.
- Baltimore Ravens - Pace was blown back by the right tackle, who passed Pace off to Ray Rice, who completely ignored him and let him run right by. At the very best, this was a delayed coverage sack.
- Oakland Raiders - The game is out of reach by the Raiders and Matt McGloin was scrambling, but I'll give this to Pace as a valid sack.
- Carolina Panthers - This was the definition of a coverage sack. By my stopwatch, Pace got to Cam Newton five full seconds after the snap.
- Cleveland Browns - Pace, again, hit Jason Campbell as he was scrambling and about to cross the line of scrimmage. The difference here is that Campbell was voluntarily falling to the ground before Pace even touched him.
By my count, Pace had maybe four good sacks for which he deserves credit. Most of Pace's sacks came on scrambles, with several of them coming as the quarterback was crossing the line of scrimmage.
On average, there were just three-to-four plays per game that Pace had a recordable stat, whether it was a tackle, sack, or penalty. The team can do better than re-signing Pace. His season really hasn't been as good as his stats suggest. Pace's best days are behind him.