The Jets made a surprising personnel move on Tuesday. They released running back Michael Carter.
Robert Saleh said on Monday there would be personnel changes in light of the Jets’ offensive struggles. Carter’s release clears the way for speedy rookie running back Izzy Abanikanda to be active for the first time on Sunday when the Jets play in Buffalo.
Carter, a fourth-round pick in 2021, showed promise as a rookie, but his production and usage have dropped markedly over the last two seasons.
He was the Jets’ No. 3 back this year behind Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook and used mostly in third-down situations. Carter had no touches in Sunday’s loss to the Raiders and was flagged for a chop block penalty that erased a 12-yard gain. He was benched after that.
Carter had eight carries for 38 yards and 15 catches for 68 yards this season. He led the Jets with 964 scrimmage yards in 2021.
Last season, Carter started out as the Jets' No. 1 running back. He was quickly surpassed by Hall. When Hall tore his ACL in Week 7, the Jets acquired James Robinson. Carter was upset by that move and never was able to re-establish himself. The Jets turned to Bam Knight and Ty Johnson to start later in the season. Carter had a costly fumble in a 20-12 loss to Buffalo in Week 14.
The Jets are looking for something to help their offense. They haven’t scored a touchdown in more than 11 quarters. Abanikanda, a fifth-round pick out of Pittsburgh, could add a spark.
The Brooklyn product ran for 1,431 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior. Abanikanda ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day.
Carter ends his Jets career with 1,079 yards rushing on 269 carries (4.0 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns in 39 games.