The Jets decided not to pick up Chris Johnson's contract option bonus, making him a free agent. The Jets had until Monday to decide whether or not to bring back CJ0.663K. From ESPN:
Johnson was due to count $5.25 million on the cap, but his release will save $3.5 million for the Jets. It leaves them with only two experienced running backs under contract, Ivory and Daryl Richardson, who spent last season on the practice squad.
The Jets did decide to keep Babin and Pace however.
This move isn't a surprise. Idzik paid CJ to be a dynamic player out of the backfield (blatantly ignoring the signs in front of his face of Johnson's declining abilities) but he was anything but. Johnson found some of his stride towards the middle and end of the season, but he finished the season with a very moderate 663 yards on a 4.3 YPC and only 1 touchdown. He also was arrested in Orlando for a weapons charge. For 3.5 million saved, Johnson's age, and declining ability, this was the obvious thing to do. The Jets can find better legs in the draft if they look hard enough.
As far as Pace and Babin are concerned, I think bringing back Babin was a good move. Babin provided good edge pressure as a sub-package player, racking up 36 pressures in 263 pass rushes, good for 13th among 3-4 OLBers with 25% snaps in the league. Pace is a little more curious, as he is not a particularly adept pass rusher, not very good in pass coverage, and is just an average run stuffer. He seems to be teflon in this organization for whatever reason. The option was a rather small one of 250K, so it doesn't guarantee Pace or Babin's roster spot. Hopefully the organization finds it prudent to move on from Pace.