As we approach the season, we are going to count down the history of Jets jersey numbers along with some of the notable players to wear each number. Today we will look at number 97.
When it comes to this number with the Jets, two players stick out.
The team's all-time leader in AV who wore number 97 is Calvin Pace. Pace signed as a free agent from Arizona after the 2007 season and lasted until 2015. In his early days with the team, he was a productive player and an important piece of Rex Ryan's defense. He set the edge ably against the run and was a decent pass rusher. He was a tad miscast as the team's primary threat off the edge. If the Jets had a better edge rusher, Pace would have been an ideal guy as a complementary rusher who otherwise did the dirty work.
Pace eventually aged and declined, but the Jets could not get rid of him because of contract restructures. As the contract situation got less ugly for the Jets, they settled into bringing him back on a series of one year deals as the team never addressed the pass rush. Pace was smart. He knew where to be. He even had a 10 sack season in 2013, although a tad fluky. It seems like Pace's career with the team is now over. Todd Bowles claims the Jets haven't closed the door, but they have given Pace's number to a rookie. Overall, this seems like a free agency win for Mike Tannenbaum to me.
Second in AV wearing number 97 is Marvin Washington. A sixth round pick out of Idaho in 1989, Washington spent eight seasons with the Jets and six as a starter. He posted a career high 8.5 sacks in 1992. He was one of the few bright spots on some brutal Jets teams during a dark era in franchise history. He eventually won a Super Bowl after leaving the Jets as a member of the Broncos in 1998.