Jets release center Spencer Long, avoid cap hit

In their first significant roster move under new coach Adam Gase, the New York Jets announced Tuesday they are parting ways with center Spencer Long.

The Jets released Long to avoid a $3 million roster bonus, which would've become guaranteed if he had remained on the roster Wednesday. The expected move makes him a free agent.

Long, 28, signed a four-year, $27.4 million contract last offseason after four seasons with the Washington Redskins. The Jets had hoped he would stabilize the center position, a weakness since Nick Mangold stopped playing in 2016, but the plan didn't materialize. Long played the second half of the season with a tendon injury in his right (snapping) hand, which affected his performance.

The low point came in a Week 9 loss to the Miami Dolphins (who were then coached by Gase), during which he was off-target on at least seven shotgun snaps. Then-Jets coach Todd Bowles didn't pull him until late in the game, resulting in a torrent of criticism. Long never played center again.

When he returned to the lineup two weeks later, he played left guard, where he stayed for the rest of the season. He wound up with 13 starts -- eight at center, five at left guard. The Jets structured his contract in a way that leaves no "dead" money on the 2019 salary cap. His entire $6.5 million cap charge comes off the books, increasing their cap-room surplus to about $100 million. They can use some of the money to sign a center because there is no heir apparent on the roster.

Jonotthan Harrison, who replaced Long last season, also is a free agent.