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Jets Make $31 Million in Cuts, Clear Cap Space

New York — As the New York Jets began their salary-cap purge yesterday, they still faced their two most difficult offseason decisions: What to do with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow.

The Jets cleared about $31 million in salary cap space by cutting veteran linebackers Bart Scott and Calvin Pace and three other players. Safety Eric Smith, backup offensive lineman Jason Smith, and tight end Josh Baker also were released yesterday. The moves were expected because New York entered the offseason more than $20 million over the cap for the 2013 season.

They were the first significant personnel decisions made by new general manager John Idzik, the Dartmouth graduate who was hired to replace the fired Mike Tannenbaum last month.

Idzik will be plenty busy this offseason. The Jets are hamstrung by the contract of starting quarterback Sanchez, who is coming off a miserable season but is guaranteed $8.25 million next season. He would cost the Jets a $17.1 million cap hit if they cut him.

So Sanchez will almost certainly be back, unless the Jets can trade him. If Sanchez returns, he will likely have to compete for the starting job, and the Jets will be in the market for a quarterback in free agency or the draft.

Tebow, who barely played after being acquired from Denver in a trade last year, is expected to be released soon. The Jets advertised Tebow as a do-everything addition to their offense, but he rarely was asked to do anything by coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, who since has been fired by Ryan.

Chiefs Cut Two

Kansas City, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs released wide receiver Steve Breaston and tight end Kevin Boss as part of their roster overhaul under new coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey.

The team announced the moves Tuesday in a statement on its website.

Breaston was lured to Kansas City in 2011 by former coach Todd Haley and general manager Scott Pioli, and signed a $22.5 million, five-year deal. But he fell out of favor last season under coach Romeo Crennel, catching seven passes for 74 yards in 10 games.

Boxing

Mayweather Finds TV Home

Floyd Mayweather Jr. will fight Robert Guerrero on May 4, and he’s changing television networks to do it.

The biggest star in boxing dropped a surprise Tuesday while announcing his long-rumored next bout: After several years on HBO, Mayweather is moving to Showtime with a lucrative multi-fight deal.

Mayweather’s move is a coup for Showtime, the CBS-owned network that has always trailed behind HBO in boxing prominence. Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) is the sport’s biggest moneymaker, and his new revenue-sharing deal with Showtime could include up to six fights over 30 months.

Mayweather’s first bout is against Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs), the WBC’s interim welterweight champion. The fight likely will be at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.

Mayweather turns 36 on Sunday, but the unbeaten WBC 147-pound champion has shown no signs of age in the ring. He hasn’t fought since beating Miguel Cotto last May 5, and he spent two months in jail last summer after his conviction in a misdemeanor domestic battery case.

Tennis

Kvitova, Wozniacki
Win Openers

Dubai, United Arab Emirates — Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova made it out of the first round of the Dubai Championships for the first time in three visits yesterday by routing Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-1.

Kvitova, seeded sixth, broke the Slovak qualifier five times, the last when Hantuchova double-faulted twice in the final game.

Kvitova set up a second-round match with former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic. Another former No. 1, Caroline Wozniacki, had little trouble against 18th-ranked Lucie Safarova, beating her 6-2, 6-2.

Wozniacki, the 2011 Dubai champion, is on course to meet new No. 1 Serena Williams in the quarterfinals.

Baseball

Braves to Retire No. 10

Atlanta — The Atlanta Braves will retire Chipper Jones’ number and induct him into the team’s hall of fame on June 28.

The Braves announced yesterday they will hold a banquet and ceremony honoring Jones before their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Jones spent his entire two-decade career with the Braves before retiring after last season.

He won the National League MVP in 1999, claimed the league batting title in 2008, and was an eight-time All Star.