Matt Forte

Former Jets, Bears RB Matt Forte Retires

Matt Forte is moving on to the next chapter. On Wednesday, the Jets running back announced his retirement from football. Matt Forte

For the past ten years, I’ve been blessed to play professionally a game that I’ve loved since I was 6 years old,” Forte wrote. “But, after much prayer and reflection, I’ve decided to retire from the NFL. Like so many others before me, this game has enhanced my life in numerous ways. My career in the league has been nothing short of a miracle granted by God and put on display for His glory.”

Forte had one more year to go on his contract with the Jets, but it was widely anticipated that the team would release him this offseason in order to save $3MM with just $1MM in dead money. In theory, Forte could have sought employment as an RB2, but the 32-year-old is opting to leave the game altogether.

Forte spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Bears where he built a reputation as a workhorse running back who could also contribute heavily in the passing game. When the Bears informed Forte that he would not be retained, he signed a three-year, $12MM free agent deal with the Jets.

Unfortunately, his second act in New York was not as productive. Forte averaged 3.7 yards per carry in each of his two seasons in green and was lost one-quarter of his final campaign to injury.

Since entering the NFL in 2008, Forte has led the league in total yards from scrimmage in that span with 14,468.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Place Matt Forte On IR

Matt Forte‘s second Jets season will end prior to Week 17. The team placed the 10th-year running back on IR, Brian Costello of the New York Post reports (on Twitter).

The Jets promoted wide receiver/return man Lucky Whitehead and running back Jahad Thomas to the active roster, per Costello (on Twitter), and placed running back Akeem Judd on IR.

Struggles with injuries derailed Forte’s 2017 campaign, and it’s uncertain if he will be back with New York next season. Forte has not had any discussions with the Jets about his 2018 status yet, he said (via Costello), but has indicated he wants to play next season. Costello notes Forte would probably like to return to the Jets, but team can save $3MM by cutting Forte prior to the final season of his three-year deal.

Forte finished this season with 381 rushing yards — over 500 fewer than his previous career-low figure of 813, which came last season for the Jets — and received just 103 carries. Bilal Powell and rookie Elijah McGuire ate into Forte’s workload, and the usually durable back found himself in a committee. Forte played in at least 15 games in each of his first seven seasons and suited up for 14 in his Jets debut. Knee pain limited him to 12 this season; he underwent knee surgery last offseason but said he doesn’t expect to need another operation prior to the 2018 season.

McGuire has three years remaining on his rookie deal, and Powell will make $4MM in base salary next season. Forte’s due $3MM in base, but this injury-plagued season and a non-guaranteed salary could induce the Jets to part ways with him.

The Jets signed Whitehead to their practice squad in late November.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Matt Forte Wants To Return For 11th Season

Matt Forte has missed time due to injuries for the third straight season but has returned for the Jets’ past two, faring well in their win over the Chiefs.

And the veteran running back believes he’s in a position to be able to contribute come 2018 rather than call it a career after 10 seasons. Forte wants to return to an NFL roster next season.

When opportunities have been there, I’ve made the most of them,” Forte said, via Calvin Watkins of Newsday. “I never question myself. I’m still playing at a high level when I’m able to play, and I think I can continue to do it.”

Forte’s in the second season of a three-year, $12MM Jets deal. His 2018 cap number comes in at $4MM, but the Jets can save $3MM by cutting the suddenly injury-prone veteran. Considering Elijah McGuire has played well as a rookie, and given what happened to most of the veteran contracts on Gang Green’s roster this offseason, Forte could be back on the market again after the season. The Jets toyed with the idea of trading him over the summer.

Watkins writes the Jets still believe in Forte when he’s able to play, but he’s required limited practices because of knee trouble. He underwent meniscus surgery this offseason. Bilal Powell is also under contract through next season.

Forte’s averaging 4.0 yards per carry and has been more involved in the passing game in John Morton‘s offense, with his 32 receptions (for 255 yards) in nine games more than he totaled in 14 last season.

Yeah, it’s something you take into context with talking to your family and also look at the team and where we’re headed,” said Forte, who turns 32 Sunday, of his status. “A lot of factors go into that. When I first came into the league, I said I’d like to play at least 10 years, and after that, you continue to assess every year.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Matt Forte Ruled Out For Sunday’s Game

The Jets will be without their lead back on Sunday vs. Tampa Bay. Veteran Matt Forte will be held out due to swelling in his surgically repaired knee, according to Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News.

Matt Forte

This is certainly poor timing for the 31 year-old, as he’s coming off his best game of the season by far, having rushed for 77 yards on 14 carries, which included two touchdowns in the team’s blowout victory over the division rival Bills last Thursday night.

This was the first time Forte eclipsed double-digit rush attempts all season long as backup running backs Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire have cut into the the 10-year veteran’s workload this season.

Both running backs will be in line for even more action on Sunday with Powell likely acting as the early down runner, while McGuire will probably see a slight expansion of his current role as a change-of-pace back, which he’s performed admirably in this season.

Still without Forte, the Jets will have to no choice but to rely on the arm of Josh McCown a little bit more, who’s actually been on of the league’s more pleasant surprises this season. The 38 year-old quarterback has found a nice rhythm with the offense, leading New York to a 4-5 record after the team was expected to finish as one of the worst offenses in football when the season started.

The outlook for his return is still up in the air at this point. However, Forte will fortunately have extra time to recover for the Jets next contest with the team having a bye in Week 10.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Rumors: Marrone, Peake, Forte

Doug Marrone will head to East Rutherford on Sunday as the Jaguars’ head coach, but he could have just as easily been leading the Jets this weekend, as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com and Brian Costello of the New York Post detail. After Marrone opted out of his Bills contract following the 2014 campaign, Marrone was considered the favorite for the Gang Green job, especially given that former NFL general manager and Jets consultant Charley Casserly had strong ties to Marrone. New York ultimately chose Todd Bowles, however, and Marrone was hired as Jacksonville’s offense line coach before being promoted to head coach midway through the 2016 season.

Here’s more from New York:

  • After placing him on injured reserve Wednesday, the Jets could potentially bring wide receiver Charone Peake off IR later this year, as Costello tweets. Peake is dealing with a high ankle sprain, which is typically a four-to-six week injury. The NFL’s IR/return rules stipulate an eight-week minimum absence, so that timeline should give Peake enough time to recover. Peake, a seventh-round pick in 2016 who managed 19 receptions during his rookie campaign, will be eligible to return to the field in Week 12 when the Jets take on the Panthers.
  • Veteran running back Matt Forte has “no idea” if he’ll be available for the Jets in Week 4 as he works through a turf toe injury, as Cimini writes in a separate piece. Bowles was also murky as to Forte’s status for this weekend, indicating that the 31-year-old back could be require a week of recovery time. If Forte can’t go, New York will lean on Bilal Powell — who has played only nine fewer offensive snaps that Forte in 2017 — rookie Elijah McGuire, and the newly-signed Travaris Cadet to handle the running game.
  • In case you missed it, free agent linebacker Erin Henderson is suing the Jets for “wrongful termination and disability discrimination” and seeking $3.3MM in compensatory damages.

East Rumors: Giants, Fins, Jets, Cowboys

Justin Pugh‘s contract year could well include a lengthy stay at right tackle. The Giants‘ starting left guard slid to his original position on Monday night and will do the same Sunday against the Eagles. Big Blue plans to start Brett Jones at left guard and does not plan on ditching Ereck Flowers at left tackle, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com notes. Pugh’s versatility will allow the Giants, per Ben McAdoo, to keep the “best five” on the field rather than the team having to use a swing tackle. Usual right tackle Bobby Hart will miss Week 3, and D.J. Fluker — a four-year Chargers starter — is apparently the Giants’ seventh offensive lineman. He’ll profile as the backup guard behind Jones and John Jerry, Raanan writes.

Here’s more from the Eastern divisions in advance of Week 3’s Sunday slate.

  • Lawrence Timmons‘ pre-Week 2 disappearance will be costly. The Dolphins linebacker signed a two-year, $12MM deal but will lose money because of the suspension his new team handed down this week. In addition to voiding the $4.5MM in guaranteed money attached to his 2018 salary, Timmons stands to lose as much as $235K in base salary this season — since he can only be suspended for four weeks under the CBA — and could be set to forfeit signing bonus money, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reports. Volin adds the linebacker could be forced to refund 4/17ths of this year’s portion of his $5.5MM signing bonus. This team-imposed ban could cost Timmons $882K this season before giving Miami greater leverage over him in 2018 because of voided guarantees.
  • Jay Cutler reached out to Matt Forte about a possible Jets path, but his longtime Bears teammate couldn’t provide many details about an offensive system about to change, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports. Although the Jets and Cutler had multiple visits scheduled, neither came to fruition and the interest wasn’t heavy on either side. Cutler also talked with former Broncos and Bears quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, Gang Green’s current QBs instructor, throughout his first free agency process, per Mehta. But with Bates not calling plays in New York, that connection didn’t have the kind of appeal that would have induced Cutler to sign with the rebuilding team. Instead, Cutler’s second wave of free agency became a Dolphins-centric odyssey.
  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins weighed over 300 pounds in the recent past, according to Calvin Watkins of Newsday. The Jets tight end dropped a staggering 60 pounds, per Watkins, and is down to 262 as he comes off his two-game suspension for substance abuse. A May report indicated Seferian-Jenkins was down 25 pounds. A year ago Saturday, Seferian-Jenkins was arrested on suspicion of DUI. The Buccaneers cut him, routing the formerly coveted prospect to the Jets. As of this week, ASJ is approaching 250 days sober, Watkins reports.
  • The Cowboys struggled to stay with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in a Week 2 loss in Denver, and the team will take a shorthanded cornerback group to Arizona as well. Both Nolan Carroll and Chidobe Awuzie are out for the Cowboys’ Monday-night tilt against the Cardinals, Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News tweets. A hamstring injury will shelve Awuzie, and Carroll’s in concussion protocol.

Latest On Jets RB Matt Forte

Although recent reports indicate that he’s being shopped, Jets running back Matt Forte said he’s been assured by general manager Mike Maccagnan that he won’t be traded, as Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets.Matt Forte

Those two viewpoints aren’t necessarily disparate, as New York could be offering Forte up on the trade market and not finding a taker. That wouldn’t be altogether surprising, especially given that Forte will be 32 years old in December, struggled in his first season with the Jets in 2016, and is due a fully guaranteed $4MM base salary for the upcoming campaign.

The Jets haven’t been afraid to part with veterans this offseason, as they’ve released Eric Decker, Brandon Marshall, Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Nick Mangold, and others. Maccagnan & Co. also traded defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson to the Seahawks earlier today.

If Forte were to be dealt or released, the Jets would turn to Bilal Powell and sixth-round rookie Elijah McGuire as their options in the backfield.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Shopping RB Matt Forte

The Jets have gauged the trade market for running back Matt Forte, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. He’s healthy now, but it will still be difficult to find a taker for his contract. "<strong

Forte is owed $4MM in guaranteed salary for the coming season, a huge number for an aging running back on the back nine of his career. I’d imagine that the Jets will have to eat at least half of that money in order to make a deal happen.

Following eight productive seasons with the Bears, Forte joined the Jets last offseason on a three-year, $12MM deal with $8MM guaranteed. Forte went on to record career-lows in rushing yards (813), receptions (30), and receiving yards (263) during his first season with the team.

The 31-year-old was once one of the league’s top running backs, but knee and shoulder injuries have caught up with him. He was placed on IR in December of last season after admitting that he played with a torn meniscus for much of the year.

The Jets are planning to use Forte and Bilal Powell as their lead backs, but they’ll gladly reconfigure things if they can find someone to take on the money owed to Forte.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Place Matt Forte On IR

Matt Forte‘s first season in New York has ended early. According to Brian Costello of the New York Post (via Twitter), the Jets have placed the veteran running back on the injured reserve. The team has promoted defensive back Bryson Keeton from the practice squad to take Forte’s roster spot.

Matt ForteFollowing eight productive seasons with the Bears, Forte joined the Jets this past offseason on a three-year, $12MM deal ($8MM guaranteed). Forte ultimately recorded career-lows in rushing yards (813), receptions (30), and receiving yards (263) during his first season with the team. The 31-year-old has been battling knee and shoulder injuries for some time, and the running back revealed last week that he’s been playing with a torn meniscus for much of the season. Forte hasn’t recorded more than 10 carries in a game since late November.

Meanwhile, running back Bilal Powell has emerged as a weapon for the Jets. This season, the 28-year-old has compiled 600 rushing and three rushing touchdowns to go along with 55 receptions, 373 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown. Even with Powell’s production, it’s unlikely that the Jets will cut bait with Forte following the season. The running back has a reasonable cap hit of $5MM for next season, and the team would be left with $6MM in dead cap if they cut the veteran loose.

Keeton joined the Jets as an undrafted free agent out of Montana State this past offseason. The defensive back has spent the entire season of the team’s practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Tannehill, Pitta, Green, Chargers

Ryan Tannehill will get a second opinion on his knee Tuesday after learning earlier today he didn’t tear an ACL but rather sprained his ACL and MCL. The plan for now is for the Dolphins to trot out backup Matt Moore in the next two games in which Tannehill will definitely not play, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports, and give the franchise passer a chance to stabilize the knee before contemplating a potential Week 17 return against the Patriots.

Salguero notes if the Week 17 game against the Patriots is meaningful for the Dolphins’ playoff hopes and Tannehill wouldn’t risk long-term knee damage, Adam Gase will hound his training staff with questions and consider starting him in a game that could well have home-field advantage on the line for the Pats. However, Salguero notes Tannehill’s ACL is partially torn since it’s been categorized as a sprain, and there will likely be a risk of a full tear if he returns in three weeks.

Additionally, if Tannehill cannot recover in time for the New Year’s Day tilt, the Dolphins will keep him on the roster in 2017 to guarantee $14.5MM of his salary next season. The team will reinstall the former first-round pick as its starting quarterback next season, Salguero writes, with the Jay Cutler talk no longer being a possibility despite Tannehill’s cap number escalating from $11.6MM to $20.3MM.

Here’s more from the AFC.

  • It’s time for the Bills to bench Tyrod Taylor and install Cardale Jones as the starter, ESPN.com’s Mike Rodak opines. The Bills, of course, have to decide on Taylor this offseason and it would behoove them to know what they have in their young backup. “He’s working hard,” offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said recently of Jones. “He’s a gunslinger, strong arm. You watch him in scout team, we evaluate his reps in scout team. He’s putting the ball in the right places. He’s accurate. I think his development is coming along fine.” Recently, GM Doug Whaley insisted that he won’t be turning things over to Jones, but things could be different after yesterday’s loss to Pittsburgh. The Bills are now 6-7 with slim odds of reaching the postseason.
  • Matt Forte is day-to-day after hyper-extending his right knee, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com reports. Although the Jets starter heard “cracking and popping” before the knee swelled, Forte was confident there was no ligament damage. Bilal Powell totaled 179 yards from scrimmage and two TDs in relief. Forte has played in all 13 Jets games this season; he’s only missed three contests in a single campaign twice and never more than four.
  • Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta will max out his incentives for 2016, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com writes. Under the terms of his reworked contract, Pitta’s salary was cut from $5MM to $1MM, but the Ravens added $3MM in incentives to help bridge the gap. The 31-year-old needed to catch 60 passes for a $1MM receptions incentive and he’s already topped that with 61. He also has to appear in 50% of the team’s snaps for the other $2MM and he’s in line to do that as well.
  • Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis says wide receiver A.J. Green expects to return to practice on Wednesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). With Cincinnati sitting at 5-7-1, a Green return would be more important to fantasy players than the Bengals’ 2016 season at this point. Green has missed the past three games with a severe hamstring injury. He sits 36 yards away from a sixth straight 1,000-yard slate.
  • Continuing on the injury front, Melvin Gordon has both a hip strain and a left knee sprain, Eric Williams of ESPN.com notes. Gordon underwent microfracture surgery on the same knee this offseason. The Chargers fell to 5-8 after losing to the Panthers on Sunday, and although Gordon wants to finish the season, his injury history may point to the Bolts exercising caution here. Gordon didn’t finish the 2015 season due to injury and then had surgery. If Gordon’s season ends after 13 games, he’ll finish three rushing yards shy of 1,000 in a bounce-back year. Mike McCoy said that number will have no bearing on whether the second-year back returns in 2016.
  • The NFL has suspended Chargers defensive end Tenny Palepoi for four games for violating the league policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Zach Links contributed to this report