A wave of the white flag has signaled the end of an era for a New York Jets team that has spent its offseason dumping marquee players to rebuild for the future.
Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Nick Mangold—three longtime pillars–were sent packing in the offseason along with other short-lived franchise players, including Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker.
It was only a matter of time before Matt Forte’s name came up in trade conversations.
#Jets have gauged trade market for RB Matt Forte, who’s healthy now, per sources. But it’d be very tough to move his $4M guaranteed salary.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 29, 2017
The 31-year-old was one of the most versatile tailbacks in the NFL for a time during his eight-year stint in Chicago, but Father Time robbed him of his gifts, like every other running back over the age of 30. Although he was hampered with a hamstring injury in 2016, health has never really been the concern for Forte, who has appeared in at least 12 games every season he’s played in the NFL.
However, he clearly isn’t the same running back who nearly ran and received for over 1,000 yards in 2014. If only the past was relevant to trade value, the Jets would have a legitimate shot at moving the veteran back. It’s unlikely any team will take on an aged player who is due a base salary of $4 million in 2017, at a position with the shortest career span… unless the Jets are willing to take on some of the guaranteed money left on the contract.
Established teams desperately in need of a running back — or depth — are likely suitors. Forte had a career-low season last year with 218 rushes for 813 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, along with 30 receptions for 263 yards and one touchdown.
The New York Giants or Green Bay Packers would be interesting fits for a player of Forte’s talent. The Packers are depending on a wide receiver to handle the brunt of the running responsibilities, while the Giants are sifting through a committee of unproven backs in a desperate effort to improve one of the league’s worst rushing offenses in 2016.
Forte isn’t the workhorse he once was in Chicago, but he can still be a significant offensive weapon. For the right team, that kind of presence could be the difference between winning and losing.