Given the number of holes on the team, it is frankly very difficult to justify tying up $8 million in just one player. With that said, any team looking to add a quality player via free agency will having to get into a bidding war and overpay. In the case of Bart Scott, the Jets at least overpaid for quality.
The 3-4 defense is driven by the linebackers. They are the playmakers and need to be able to do a bit of everything. Scott has shown himself to be above average in all aspects of the game. He does a steady if unspectacular job taking on blockers and stopping the run. While his sack totals were down the past two years, Bart's 9.5 sack 2006 showed he has value as a blitzer. Rex Ryan has even lined him up as a rusher off the edge in some funky formations.
Most importantly for the sake of this team are his skills in pass coverage. Scott possesses excellent athleticism, and his experience playing safety in college gives him a leg up on most linebackers in understanding the demands of playing the pass. The way the Jets played against tight end last seasons, I may have been able to catch 5 balls against them. This team desperately needed a cover linebacker. Scott will certainly have value against the run. Just like Haloti Ngata and Ray Lewis in Baltimore, the presence of Kris Jenkins and David Harris will prevent the opposition from keying their blocking schemes on Bart. However, this fills an absolutely gaping hole against the pass and is the primary reason one can defend overpaying.
Some incidents in the past could make one leery of Scott, namely his double personal fouls at the end of a 2007 game against the Patriots for unsportsmanlike conduct. Maybe this erratic nature is not such a bad thing. It has been a while since the Jets have shown some attitude. Maybe it will keep the team from being resigned to constant defeat from the hands of the Goliath in New England. In any event, 28 is the perfect age to give a player a deal like this. Scott is in his prime and should be able to play at a high level for most of this contract.