The Jets have announced the releases of veteran linebackers David Bowens and Brad Kassel.
Bowens (6'3", 265) played in 32 games with seven starts in two seasons with the Jets and recorded 44 tackles (17 solo), 6.5 sacks, one interception, five passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. In 2008 he played in 16 games with five starts at inside linebacker and recorded 31 tackles (14 solo), four sacks, one interception, two passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
He originally signed with the Jets as an unrestricted free agent in 2007 after spending seven seasons with the Miami Dolphins.
Kassell (6'3", 242) played in 32 games with two starts in two seasons with the Jets and recorded 32 special teams tackles in addition to contributing 43 tackles (25 solo) and one pass breakup on defense. He led the team in 2007 with a career-high 23 special teams tackles. He spent the 2008 season on injured reserve (knee). He originally signed with the Jets as an unrestricted free agent in 2006 after spending four seasons with the Tennessee Titans.
Kassell is no great loss. He was not a contributor on defense. He ended his 2008 season on IR. It is tough to remember any impact play he made with the team on the defensive side of the ball. His value was in his special teams play, but even there he was no standout. His most memorable moment was getting hit by a punt as a return blocker in a critical 2006 game at Miami. The Dolphins recovered and kicked a game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter before Leon Washington took Kassell off the hook.
It is disappointing to see Bowens leave. He filled in capably for David Harris when Harris was out of the lineup in 2008. Bowens was also a major contributor on kick return and coverage teams. While he saw the most time as an inside linebacker, he also served as a situational pass rusher and showed the capability to get to the quarterback. This versatility and ability to help on special teams made him an ideal backup. Finding another reserve who brings as much to the table will not be easy. This move does save roughly $2 million in cap space, but this team is hardly in cap hell. If the Jets can bring him back at a reduced rate, this transaction will become much more palatable.