NEW YORK – The New York Jets will release running back Thomas Jones this week, allowing the leader of the NFL’s top-ranked rushing offense to become a free agent.

General Manager Mike Tannenbaum said Monday that the team told Jones it will cut ties with him when the league’s free agency period begins Friday.

Jones was due a $3 million roster bonus on top of a $2.8 million base salary this season. He and the Jets failed to reach a compromise on restructuring his contract; the team wanted him to take a pay cut.

Jones, 31, is coming off a season in which he set career highs by rushing for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns while helping the Jets reach the AFC championship game. He made only $900,000 in base salary.


BEARS: Chicago waived tackle Orlando Pace after one season in which the 34-year-old played little like the All-Pro he once was with St. Louis.

The Bears signed Pace to help patch up a faulty offensive line, but the fading star didn’t provide much help. He started 11 games, missed time because of a groin injury and finished his 13th NFL season as a reserve.