Calvin Pace has now been a Jet for seven seasons. He was signed as a free agent in 2008, and in the early seasons of Rex Ryan he was a valuable role player on some very successful teams.
Pace is now 34. He will turn 35 during the 2015 season. His athleticism has been in steep decline,, and that has shown on the field. He had a ten sack season in 2013, but that was not sustainable. He only had nineteen other pressures. He was getting his sacks at a clip that was likely to fall. A lot of his sacks also came because he was in the right place at the right time rather than him winning an assignment. Accordingly, his sack total fell in half in 2015. Five sacks for a player off the edge isn't great in a Jets defense with plenty of talent on the interior drawing double teams and setting up one on ones on the outside.
The Jets gave Pace a more diverse role than Quinton Coples, who was primarily a pass rusher. They dropped him into coverage a lot. While Pace wasn't burned a lot, I felt like he was given a limited role due to his lack of speed. He can't cover a lot of ground, and that limits what the defense can do.
I don't think there is a ton that distinguishes Pace setting the edge as a run stopper either at this point.
Maybe the biggest attribute Pace brought was his understanding of Rex Ryan's defense. He could do multiple things because he understood the responsibilities on any given play. His limited ability to execute at this point doesn't necessarily give that a ton of value, but that is not a consideration anymore.
Pace served the Jets well for a time, but I think it is well past the point the team gets younger and more athletic at outside linebacker. He is due $2.25 million against the cap, and all but $125 thousand would come off the ledger if the Jets moved on. That seems like the right move.