East Notes: Forte, Gronk, Pats, Fins, Eagles

Before signing a three-year, $12MM deal with the Jets in free agency last March, running back Matt Forte also drew interest from the AFC East rival Patriots, he told Connor Hughes of NJ.com Wednesday. The Pats’ attempt to woo him came too late, however. “My agent told me they called. I asked if they talked about anything, and he said they just wanted me to come for a visit,” said Forte. “I said I’m already here about to sign, so, I didn’t feel like that would be right.”

Forte has been productive in his age-30 season (911 total yards, eight touchdowns), but the 3-7 Jets are out of playoff contention and the 8-2 Patriots are the division’s top team. Statistically, New England’s No. 1 back, bargain signing LeGarrette Blount, is having a better season on the ground than Forte. Blount has piled up 802 rushing yards (compared to Forte’s 732) to go with a slightly superior per-carry average (4.0 to 3.9) and 12 scores.

More from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is not expected to play Sunday against Forte’s Jets, per Dianna Russini of ESPN (Twitter link). Gronkowski suffered a perforated lung Nov. 13 in a loss to the Seahawks and missed the Patriots’ win over the 49ers last week as a result. The all-world weapon has sat out a total of three games this year, but New England hasn’t yet lost without him.
  • Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor admitted he’s fighting a “mental battle,” and head coach Doug Pederson won’t commit to playing him Monday against Green Bay, writes Tim McManus of ESPN.com. A reduced role for Agholor is a “real possibility,” Pederson said Wednesday, adding that Agholor has seen a sports psychologist recently. “Every team has them and I think it’s good, whether they’re going through stuff or not, to keep talking through some issues,” stated Pederson. Agholor hasn’t lived up to his first-round draft status on the field since going 20th overall in the 2015 draft. Plus, as of late October, he was under league investigation for an offseason rape accusation that didn’t lead to charges.
  • Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan practiced Wednesday for the first time in almost two years and “felt good,” but whether he’ll play this season is up in the air. β€œI don’t know,” Jordan told Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald. β€œIt’s kind of hard to tell. It’s my health, man. It’s my body. If my body tells me I’m not ready to go out there and perform with the best athletes, I’m not going to put myself out there. The way everything’s been going, it’s been going well. I’ve got high hopes for myself to go out and compete before the season ends.” Jordan, whom the Dolphins chose third overall in the 2013 draft, has missed 32 of 58 regular-season games – 22 because of various suspensions – and has been out all of this year after undergoing two knee surgeries in the summer.
  • The Eagles signed special teamers Donnie Jones (punter), Chris Maragos (safety) and Jon Dorenbos (long snapper) to contract extensions last week. Details on the deals Jones and Maragos inked are now out, via Adam Caplan of ESPN (Twitter links): Jones’ three-year pact is worth $5.5MM ($1MM fully guaranteed) and maxes out at $5.8MM with Pro Bowl incentives. Maragos’ extension, also for three years, is worth $6MM ($2.25MM fully guaranteed) and carries a $6.3MM max with Pro Bowl incentives.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

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