The NY Jets should keep running back Chris Ivory as he puts them in a great position to continue their success in 2016 and for years to come.
The Jets are in a complex spot with Ivory. The power back is dominant when he is on the field, blowing up defenders on his way to the end zone. He has averaged over four yards per carry in each season of his career (4.57) and has increased his numbers each season with the Jets. He is also only 27 years old and has, at least, one more long-term contract in his legs and possibly longer. Ivory only has 883 carries in his six seasons as a pro.
What also been impressive with Ivory has been his skills in the passing game. In his first four seasons, Ivory only tallied five receptions, but his last two seasons has seen an uptick. In 2014, he took down 18 passes and just last year he finished with 30. The 30 receptions are probably his ceiling, but there is no doubt he has worked hard to improve in this area.
2015 was the only time he carried the rock over 200 times in a season (247), and the only time he rushed over 1,000 yards (1070). He also hit career highs in touchdowns (seven) and caught his second touchdown of his career. He will also be going to his first Pro Bowl this season, as a replacement for the injured LeSean McCoy.
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His running style has been one to watch, especially if you enjoy brute force strength.
He would take on a grizzly bear if it were between him and the goal line, and this is why his rushing yards are over four and a half per carry.
With the exertion that Ivory leaves on the field, it often leads to injuries. He played only 24 games in three seasons with the New Orleans Saints, but he has only missed two games with the Jets.
Looking at just this season, he was the difference maker when the Jets lost against the Oakland Raiders. Ivory was injured and the Jets left the Coliseum getting blown out 34-20 after being behind after the third quarter 31-13. Against the Buffalo Bills, he carried the ball only six times, and Buffalo not only won, but took the Jets out of the NFL Playoffs. He is the inspiration on offense and he consistently gets the job done when healthy.
Sep 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Jets running back Chris Ivory (33) runs with the ball against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. New York Jets defeat the Indianapolis Colts 20-7. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
It’s not a cut and dry situation for the Jets, though. Up till now, Ivory has been paid in the lower half of starting running backs. According to Over the Cap.com, Ivory is the 23rd highest paid out of 118 running back contracts. His contract will surely go up after the year he had and the importance he brings to the Jets. Ivory’s salary raise will push the Jets to the near limit, and if they decide to sign defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, the Jets will be over the salary cap.
In March, Ivory will become both a free agent and 28 years old. In my mind, letting Ivory walk out the door would be a huge mistake for a team that is on the cusp of going to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. They need to encourage his dynamic play while managing his risk of injury.
In an article written by Brian Costello of the New York Post, Ivory stated he wants to stay with the Jets:
“Only thing I can say about that, if we reach an agreement, I would love to be back,” Ivory said. “Until then, I guess we’ll see what the future holds.”
The future for the Jets will be bleaker if he does not return.