The New York Jets claim to not be tanking, but they've spent most of this offseason purging their roster of their best veteran contributors. As we detailed back in June:
In mid-February, they declined the $10 million option on left tackle Ryan Clady's contract. Later that month, they released both right tackle Breno Giacomini and kicker Nick Folk. A few days after that, they cut ties with longtime starting center and former Pro Bowler Nick Mangold. Less than a week later, they said goodbye to former All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis. Two days after Revis was cast aside, wide receiver Brandon Marshall was sent out into the free agency ether.
Once the month of June rolled around, the Jets made two more cost-cutting moves that involved letting go of veteran players: linebacker David Harris was let go first, and the Jets followed that up by releasing wide receiver Eric Decker after they couldn't find a suitable trade for him.
At the time, Jets running back Matt Forte wanted to make it clear that despite all those departures, the team was not attempting to bottom out.
"It's a good thing we don't operate off of what the fans think and what everybody on the outside thinks," he said. "What we think as a team, that's what's going to happen. And none of us on the team think that we're going to tank. So all I have to say about that is: Bring it."
Well, now Forte may not have much of a say in the matter, because he's reportedly the one on the trade block.
Forte is coming off his second straight sub-1,000-yard season and is expected to play second fiddle to Bilal Powell in the Jets' backfield this year if he's not traded. Given his salary, it would be very surprising if any team made a move to trade for him. Anybody that wants him can probably just pick him up for less money if the Jets can't find a trade partner and decide to cut him.
Forte still has a valuable skill set with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, but at 31 years old (he'll be 32 in December), it seems unlikely that anyone would be willing to give him a larger role than that.