FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The two oldest players on the Jets, Josh McCown and Matt Forte, are contemplating whether to return in 2018.
McCown, 38, told Newsday on Thursday he will speak with his family before making a final decision regarding his future.
Forte, 32, wants to play again but isn’t sure if that will be with the Jets or another team.
“I don’t try to predict the future. I let God handle that, I follow in his footsteps and where he leads me,” Forte said to Newsday after practice. “I’m being realistic. I’m a 32-year-old running back and the statistics of running backs who stick around past 32 is not that great. Whether that’s this team or with another team I don’t know, only God knows that. All I can do is get healthier in the offseason and stay that way and stay in shape and continue to work and control only what I can control.”
He’s registered career lows in carries (103), yards (381), rushing touchdowns (2) and yards per game (31.8). He’s in the second year of a $12 million contract with $9 million guaranteed. He’s scheduled to make $3 million in base salary next season.
Forte said he’s played the majority of the season on “one leg” as he continues to deal with swelling in his right knee. He said he doesn’t need surgery on the knee and that it’s the wear and tear of playing 10 NFL seasons that is reason for the health issues.
The Jets will look at Forte’s health and his declining numbers when deciding whether to bring him back.
McCown produced a career season for the Jets. He picked up career-highs in completions (267), yards (2,926), touchdowns (18) and had his highest QB rating (94.5) the last three seasons. Yet, McCown dealt with health issues throughout the latter part of the season, which ended in Denver on Dec. 10 when he suffered a broken left hand.
McCown has expressed how much he misses his family in Texas, but also how exciting it would be to play another year under offensive coordinator John Morton’s West Coast offense. So a lot of factors go into his return.
McCown made $6 million on a one-year deal. For 2018 he could command similar money with incentives that push his total to $10 million. The Jets, who are projected to have at least $80 million in cap space in 2018, could seek a quarterback in free agency who is younger and more expensive. The Jets might re-sign McCown to another one-year deal as a bridge to one of the younger quarterbacks on the roster.
“It’s a tough decision,” said Forte of McCown, whom he played with in Chicago from 2011-2013. “He has a daughter that went off to college, other kids getting older and they have games during the season whether it’s football or whatever.”
McCown had a goal of playing 16 full games in a season, something he had never done. He tied a career-high of 13 until the injury ended his season.
If he returns, 16 games would be a magic number.
“Yeah, I would be happy about that just because, just like we talked about with Eli (Manning), to withstand a 16-game season and to be there for your team and all that, I think is important for a quarterback,” McCown said in November. “It’s something I haven’t done throughout my career, for one reason or the other whether it’s injury or what not, and so to be able to do that, I would be proud of that.”