The New York Jets made their first big move of the 2016 offseason by acquiring Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte in free agency. We are still waiting on specific contract numbers but the addition will be a big boost to a Jets backfield that lost Chris Ivory yesterday. Forte is a textbook fit in Chan Gailey’s offense and gives the Jets a weapon in both the run and passing game.
At this time last year, the Jets acquired a 30 year old skill position player from the Chicago Bears who was coming off a rare down year due to injuries, they can only hope the results of such a transaction repeat themselves in 2016. Forte rushed for 898 yards last season at 4.1 yards per carry over 13 games, he also added 44 receptions and 389 yards.
It was only two seasons ago that Forte hauled in a mind-boggling 102 receptions in a single season to go with 1,038 yards rushing. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2012, 2013, and 2014. In the same time frame, he compiled 264 receptions. Forte has the versatility to split out and beat linebackers one on one in coverage and also be an effective north/south runner. He immediately becomes a strong third option in the Jets passing game behind Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, along with their lead back.
The Jets still hope to bring back Bilal Powell as a running mate to Forte so they don’t need to be overly reliant on the 30 year old. In a perfect world, Forte will basically function as the third receiver and handle 12-15 carries per game, with Powell spelling him a few times per half. If the Jets can’t get Powell back, they may shift focus to Bobby Rainey, James Starks or Alfred Morris.
For all the concerns about Forte’s play declining, he racked up 1,287 total yards in 13 games last season on a bad offense with very limited talent around him. The contract details have not been released yet but the Jets likely structured the deal with most of the money loaded in year 1 and year 2. Similar to Brandon Marshall, there is no reason to believe that Forte can’t give the Jets his standard rate of production for at least that time frame.
You can get more information on the day’s events here and enjoy a couple of Forte highlights below.
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