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.