The New York Jets didn’t want to play against running back Matt Forte twice a year and decided to ignore a knee injury when pursuing the free agent last offseason.
Forte’s meeting the Patriots in Week 12 is one of the many storylines between the AFC East rivals.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter cast an interesting light on one of the biggest:
On the first day of free agency in 2016, Forte flew into New Jersey to meet with the Jets, who made the decision to sign him. There were some concerns about the condition of his knee during the physical, however, and the Jets did not rush to get the paperwork done, league sources told ESPN.
As soon as the Jets heard Forte was New England-bound, their behavior changed, sources said. Any concerns about the knee were overlooked, and the three-year, $12 million contract was written up and signed.
Maybe it wasn’t intentional, but kudos to Forte for using some creative divisional leverage to get a deal done. New England and playing with Tom Brady would have been a great destination as well, of course, but Forte got paid and is a featured player either way.
The risk, misguided or not, has worked out for the Jets. Though 30 years old, Forte has appeared in 10 games and rushed for 732 yards and seven scores, the touchdown total already his highest since he scored nine in 2013.
Perhaps best of all, the Jets kept Forte from the Patriots. Maybe the rest of the league should send the Jets thank you cards.