He struggled with various injuries and his role changed at times, limiting him to 13 sacks — including just three last season — in the last three years. The 32-year-old Pace has 42 career sacks, and played mostly at outside linebacker for the Jets.
Bryan Thomas, the team’s other starting outside linebacker, is also a free agent and might not be re-signed.
Jason Smith was acquired from St. Louis shortly before the season opener when the Rams and Jets swapped struggling right tackles. New York sent Wayne Hunter to the Rams.
Smith, the No. 2 overall pick in 2009, was a backup all season to Austin Howard. He came in as an extra blocker or as a jumbo tight end, and his release — because of a roster bonus of $11.25 million due to him — was expected. He saves the Jets $12 million in salary cap space.
Smith’s career was plagued by concussion problems and ineffectiveness with the Rams. He was limited to only 29 games in his three seasons in St. Louis, but played in all 16 games in New York.
Eric Smith has been with the Jets since 2006, when they drafted him in the third round. He was an occasional starter at safety, including 14 games in 2011, and also was a special teams standout.
Releasing the hard-hitting Smith saves $3.5 million.
Baker played for the Jets in 2011, making three receptions. He went on injured reserve after injuring his right knee last August and did not play in 2012.
The Jets have 12 players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents next month, including safeties LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell, running back Shonn Greene, tight end Dustin Keller, wide receiver Braylon Edwards, defensive lineman Mike DeVito and offensive linemen Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson.