After spending the first eight years of his career with the Chicago Bears, Matt Forte is now a New York Jet.
Forte may be 30, but he had 1,287 total yards and seven touchdowns (four rush, three receiving) last season and looks like he has plenty of gas left in the tank. He received interest from several teams but ultimately signed a three-year, $12 million deal with the Jets.
“I had some other people that were looking at me, but they never offered a contract,” Forte said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I waited around a little bit and then decided to pull the trigger on the Jets. Looking at the team, reuniting with my boy Brandon Marshall there – I like big receivers, and we got two of them: him and Eric Decker on the outside. The defense is really good out there with the Jets and Coach (Todd) Bowles. They won 10 games last year and were able to make a large step toward being a good team, a contender in the AFC. So just looking at that, it was a (good fit) for me. Not only that they offered me a contract, but that this team is taking a step in the right direction.”
Unfortunately, the Jets went 10-6 last year but missed the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. They’ve also been unable to reach an agreement with free agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who, at 33, views himself as an elite NFL quarterback. The Jets, meanwhile, don’t want to pay Fitzpatrick like a franchise quarterback – mainly because he isn’t one.
“I’ve paid attention to it, but Brandon has been in talks with him too, just trying to see where his head’s at,” Forte said. “As a player, I know how the negotiation part goes. When I got franchised, we had to negotiate the entire offseason until the deadline. I know he wasn’t franchised, but he’s able to negotiate. He should do his best and take his time where he can get as much as he wants to get. So he still has time left for him to sign and be with us. I hope he does sign and come back so that we can continue to hold off the momentum from last year that him and Brandon and Eric and all the receivers and the offense had last year. We can take a step in the right direction in that aspect, continuing on with that momentum that they had last year. It’s not all said and done yet, so we’re still waiting.”
Fitzpatrick has never thrown for 4,000 yards. He came close last season, throwing for 3,905 yards and 31 touchdowns, breaking his previous high of 24. It was easily the best year of his career.
Forte hopes Fitzpatrick finds a number that works for him.
“It’s a team sport,” Forte said. “Somebody has to throw the pass, but somebody also has to catch it. Somebody has to run those routes, and people have to block. We all, as a team, have to work together. I feel that my expectations are he’ll be there. I’d be disappointed (if I don’t) get to work with him (given that he was here) last year and the good job he did. But at the same time, you have to prepare yourself for the worst if that doesn’t happen.”