The rebuilding of the Jets began in earnest yesterday when the team cut ties with linebackers Bart Scott and Calvin Pace along with three others in an effort to fix the salary cap situation.

New general manager John Idzik cleared around $31 million in salary cap space, pushing the Jets under the projected 2013 salary cap with the moves. Scott ($7.1 million savings), Pace ($8.5 million), tackle Jason Smith ($12 million) and safety Eric Smith ($3 million) were all released by the cap-strapped team. The Jets also waived tight end/fullback Josh Baker.

All of the cuts were expected, and had been planned by previous general manager Mike Tannenbaum before he was fired on Dec. 31.

It is difficult to determine exactly how far under the cap the Jets now are because the cap numbers are murky, but they are believed to be around $6 million-$8 million under the projected 2013 cap of $121 million after being a reported $23 million over the cap before yesterday.

“Every one of these players was a major contributor to our football team,” coach Rex Ryan said in a team-issued statement.

Idzik, Ryan and members of the Jets front office and coaching staff now head to Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine where their work will continue. The Jets won’t just be looking at college prospects there. They also will be meeting with the agents for their own free agents, such as Dustin Keller, Shonn Greene and Mike DeVito.

The only other player who is expected to be released is quarterback Tim Tebow, and that should come in the next month. Other players could be released or have their contracts restructured to provide further salary cap relief.

The top item on Idzik’s to-do list is to solve the Darrelle Revis issue. The star cornerback is expected to be on the trade block, and the combine is where those trade talks will heat up as Idzik can meet with fellow GMs.