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Ropati Pitoitua: Stay or Go?

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FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 09:   Ropati Pitoitua #79 of the New York Jets celebrates after he sacked  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots on October 9, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 09: Ropati Pitoitua #79 of the New York Jets celebrates after he sacked Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots on October 9, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Ropati Pitoitua is a very large man. He is 6'8" and 315 pounds. One of the stars of training camp and the preseason, he arguably outplayed Muhammad Wilkerson competing for a starting spot on the defensive line. The coaching staff did not see it that way, however, as Wilkerson got a starting spot and played well as a rookie. Ropati contributed as a rotational player.

Pitoitua had 19 tackles on the season. He seldom makes plays that stand out. He does the dirty work, holding the point of attack and tying up blockers to keep the playmakers behind him clean. Over the years, the coaching staff has gotten the 26 year old to play with more consistent technique. He has improved. A guy as tall as Ropati can sometimes allow blockers to get a base underneath him to push him back, but that has happened less and less.

Ropati should continue to get better. There is some intrigue to his situation, though. NYJetsCap.com indicates cutting Ropati would save the Jets over $1 million. It does not look like a starting spot is going to open for him soon with Wilkerson, Mike Devito, and Kenrick Ellis around. I would like to see the Jets change his deal to keep him as he is a young guy with ability, but I think they should explore ways to gain cap savings because that money can be used for more valuable pieces.