NY Jets: Does Matt Forte make sense?
The NY Jets will more than likely be in the market for a running back heading into free agency. As Matt Forte could be looking for a new home this off-season, could Gang Green be potential suitors?
Running back Matt Forte finished the 2015 regular season with 218 rushes for 898 yards and four rushing touchdowns. He also recorded a receiving line of 44 receptions for 398 yards and three touchdowns. Despite Forte’s age, the veteran running back has proven that he is still a quality starter in the NFL. With Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell and Stevan Ridley all being free agents this off-season, should the Jets consider giving the veteran a phone call?
Ivory had his best season of his young career in 2015 recording 1,070 rushing yards, however, his season could have been much better. Ivory developed lingering injuries in the beginning of the year which prolonged throughout the entire season. Ivory fights for every yard possible and doesn’t give up until a defender is finally able to bring the workhorse down.
If you’ve ever see the young running back play, it sometimes mirrors Marshawn Lynch, a very physical rusher who takes countless shots to the body while fighting for yards. It’s also a big reason as to why he was not able to stay fully healthy this past season. While I do hope the Jets are able to ink Ivory to a brand new contract, they need an every down kind of back.
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With the remaining free agents on the Jets’ roster such as Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison, Demario Davis, Willie Colon, Calvin Pace, Antonio Allen and many others, its highly doubtful that the Jets can financially afford to resign Ivory, Powell and Ridley.
My theory is that the Jets re-sign Powell and Ivory, let Ridley go and entertain the idea of bringing in Forte for a visit. We all saw Ivory’s work load decrease in the second half of the season due to lack of consistency.
Both Powell and Ridley’s work load increased, mostly Powell’s. Ridley, despite missing the first portion of the season recovering from an ACL injury, was not as effective in the running game as expected.
Powell showed great promise in the second half of the year but mostly in the passing game rather than the rushing game. Ivory, if re-signed, will walk into work outs as the projected starter but that won’t stop head coach Todd Bowles from exploring other options at the running back position.
Forte is the true definition of a workhorse, the veteran running back has led the NFL in yards from scrimmage since being drafted in the league in 2008. In his career, Forte has hauled in nearly 500 catches and has carried the ball nearly 2,000 times. And if those stats don’t grab your attention, this one will surely catch your eye: Forte is currently hovering around 2,500 career touchdowns.
Don’t get me wrong, Forte has had his fair share of injuries, but you can make an argument that no other running back in the NFL works harder than he does. While this could very well be his last year in Chicago, Forte left a little message in the Bears locker room after it came time to clean out their lockers. Forte left a sleeveless shirt in his locker that not only had his jersey number on it (22), but had the word “Work Horse” where his last name normally is printed.
Jan 3, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the second half at Soldier Field. The Lions won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
If the veteran running back does indeed become a free agent, the Jets could very well consider bringing in Forte for a visit and why not? I don’t expect them to bring back Ridley, Zac Stacy may not be 100% following his recovery from a broken ankle and it’s not definite that the Jets bring back both Ivory and Powell. Forte could provide a much-needed leadership presence in the Jets’ locker room at the running back position.
In his eight-years in the NFL, he has recorded over 1,000 yards rushing five times. The other three seasons, he’s recorded a low of 898 yards and a high of 997 yards. Out of those three seasons in which Forte didn’t record 1,000 yards, two of them he did not play a full season. Also, according to Pro Football Reference, throughout his career, the veteran back has only missed a total of eight games and started a total of 120.
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While I am fully onboard to re-sign both Ivory and Powell, I’m not opposed to giving the veteran Forte a call during the off-season. Forte could bolster this already solid rushing attack next season for the Jets.
Does bringing in Forte for a visit this off-season make any sense? I believe it does. Head coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan will do whatever it takes to improve this franchise, if that means bringing in Forte for a workout than so be it. Will Forte be the newest Jet this off-season? We shall see once free agency officially begins.