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The Jets Sign Matt Forte

The Jets lost Chris Ivory to Jacksonville, but may have improved the offense by going in the other direction and adding Matt Forte. Ivory is one of the most one-dimensional running backs in recent memory: he has the 4th most rushing yards of any runner since 1990 who has 10x as many rushing yards as receiving yards. Forte, meanwhile, is one of just 12 players in history in the 4,000/8,000 club, and there’s a good chance he joins Tiki Barber, Marshall Faulk, and Marcus Allen as the only members of the 10,000/5,000 club before he retires.

The move makes a lot of sense for a Jets team that had the most two-dimensional passing attack in the NFL last year. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker were outstanding and historically great at scoring touchdowns, but they combined for 61% of all Jets receiving yards last year. That was the most in the NFL in 2015, and the 8th highest rate since 2002 among teams with at least 4,000 receiving yards.

New York lost 2014 2nd round pick Jace Amaro to a season-ending shoulder injury in the preseason. As a result, the Jets simply didn’t throw to the tight end last year. As a group, New York tight ends caught just 8 passes for 95 yards, making them the first team since the Run-and-Shoot Falcons to fail to have tight ends hit the century mark. In addition, Jeremy Kerley fell out of favor with the coaching staff, while injuries prevented 2015 2nd round pick Devin Smith from making much of an impact.

With Amaro and Smith coming off of those injuries, the Jets could have hoped that their last two second round picks would help the two-dimensional offense issue. But adding one of the more versatile running backs in the game is a pretty good safety net in case that doesn’t happen.

  • Quinton White

    Hey Chase, are you going to repeat the series of combine posts? I only ask cause I love them (and the site). Keep up the great work

  • sacramento gold miners

    Forte is a good back, but like Denver, the Jets may have a gaping hole at the QB position if they can’t retain Fitzgerald.

  • Robert Ford

    I’m not sure the Jets “lost” much of anything with Ivory’s departure. Forte’s averaged 1,590 YFS for his 8 seasons, with no massively skewing outliers, owing primarily to his excellent receiving production out of the backfield, as Chase pointed out. Forte has slightly superior overall rushing production, but significantly more attempts/game than Ivory, and Ivory is the slightly more efficient rusher, though efficiency has a way of decreasing as attempts increase.

    We’ll see how the Jags intend to use Ivory, if he starts to crack 15 carries/game, etc. Forte’s had a solid career (5 complete seasons), but on pure rushing he’s always looked suspiciously like a compiler. Forte will turn 31 late this season, Ivory celebrates his 28th soon. We’ll see what Forte’s got left in the tank. Good rounded running back. Ivory? I’d like to see what he’d do with a heavier workload.

  • sacramento gold miners

    Tiki Barber is the poster child for making the wrong decision about an early retirement. Was playing great football over the last half of his career with no decline apparent then just walked away. By the time he realized the mistake and tried a comeback, it was too late. He missed at least one SB win, and it likely cost him the HOF.

    • farouk

      He probably had 2-3 more good seasons. Thats a lot of money and what ifs to leave on the table.