New York Jets GM Mike Maccagnan made his first splash of the free-agency period signing former Bears RB Matt Forte.
By Jeremy Fialkow
In the words of fellow ESNY writer Chip Murphy: The New York Jets have now continued their tradition of signing great backs – about two years past their prime.
Matt Forte, who was released by the Chicago Bears in February – the team he’s been with through the entirety of his career – will arrive in New York at the ripe old age of 30. Sitting at a whopping 2,035 carries, good for 8,602 yards and 42 touchdowns in eight NFL seasons, Forte hopes to have some semblance of gasoline left in the tank.
The signing draws many parallels to the addition of Thomas Jones in 2007 and LaDainian Tomlinson in 2010. Much like Jones, Forte is an above-average, solid RB, but not a game-changer like Tomlinson was.
The Jets can only hope Forte’s arrival compares closer to LT’s than TJ’s.
At the time, Tomlinson was a 31-year-old sure fire Hall of Famer at the tail-end of his career, coming to join former Head Coach Rex Ryan to begin a Jets’ revolution. While his number’s weren’t favorable, Tomlinson’s pairing with the once-promising RB Shonn Greene swiftly became the No. 1 rushing attack in the NFL.
Matt Forte is signing with the NY Jets, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 9, 2016
Jets sign Thomas Jones at 29, LaDanian Tomlison at 31, Matt Forte at 30. That's officially a trend.
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) March 9, 2016
In the end, the addition of Forte certainly solidifies the backfield for the upcoming season. Which, of course, became a major need when Chris Ivory bolted to Jacksonville yesterday. Although, Forte is coming off his first season with under 1,000 yards rushing since 2011. Then again, he missed three games with an MCL sprain.
The addition also means Forte will be reunited with former Bears WR Brandon Marshall, who begun his tenure in the Big Apple with a bang.
Although, this isn’t the worst move for the 2016 Jets, the implications this decision could create for the future may be dissapointing.
It could spell the departure of Bilal Powell and Ryan Fitzpatrick from Gang Green, two vital pieces to the team’s success this past season. I’m no salary-cap genius, but you can’t pay ’em all.
Powell became the surprise X-factor for the 2015 Jets as their RB2, catching 47 passes out of the backfield for 377 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
ICYMI: #Jets signed Matt Forte who has caught 220 passes over previous three seasons https://t.co/gDLm8sZVal pic.twitter.com/vmdY3NtmoO
— Joe Caporoso (@JCaporoso) March 9, 2016
Good news! Matt Forte will pickup right where Powell left off. Last year, Forte caught 44 passes for 398 yards in 13 games.
Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, is said to be in a standoff with Jets management over the potential numbers for a new deal. The journeyman quarterback is coming off his most successful season and the most prolific in the history of New York Jets football.
The Jets better move quickly to bring back FitzMagic. His steady play, combined with that of Marshall, Eric Decker and the newly-acquired Forte would create a lethal and fearsome offense.
This addition of a talented, aging running back to a talented, aging roster makes it apparent Gang Green is in win-now mode.