Don’t Forget About Bilal
One big question the Jets will have to answer is how they divide the reps between Forte and Bilal Powell, who has a comparable skill set to Forte and was so vital during New York’s strong finish last season that he was an offseason priority, signing a three-year deal worth $11.25 million with $6 million in total guarantees.
The Jets are paying Powell comparable money to Forte, which suggests this could be more of a tandem than assumed. Powell rushed for 313 yards and added 388 receiving yards and three total touchdowns in 11 games last season. Powell also battled an ankle injury throughout the year and his absence during New York’s Week 17 loss to the Buffalo Bills might have made a substantial difference.
The Jets clearly like Powell, enough to throw him low-end starter money. He’s only 27 and has only garnered approximately one-fifth of Forte’s career touches throughout his five-year career.
We will project Powell’s statistics later, but the important point is don’t be surprised if Powell factors into the offense more in 2016. Add in Khiry Robinson as a change of pace, short-yardage pounder and Forte’s touches could be diminished.