Yesterday we talked a bit about whether the Jets will bring back Chris Ivory. As with most things in the NFL, money will probably be the determining factor. How much will it cost to keep Ivory, though? A couple of NFL contract websites have made projections.
Chris Ivory, Jets
The workhorse for the Jets is on pace for, by far, the best season of his career with over 1,300 yards. Ivory’s style is arguably unlike any other runner in the NFL. When people say he runs violently that isn’t hyperbole. The best way to describe it is he just has this belief that he is the strongest player in the league and you can’t bring him down as he’ll fight for every quarter yard. That endears him to a fanbase but also puts him in a position where he often doesn’t play because of injury.
The injury bug along with relatively low receiving production will require a team to invest in two players at the position which will lower his value. He’ll be 28 next season which is slightly on the high end, but since he has been a low usage back should not be a major consideration. I’d think comparable players to Ivory might be the Ryan Mathews and CJ Spiller types who were generally productive when healthy but health was a major concern. Those players did not hit free agency off big seasons the way Ivory likely will, but I think that fact is downplayed more at this position than others.
The best landing spot for Ivory is to simply remain with the Jets. The Jets are already very old on offense and can’t really invest the draft capital at RB considering long term needs at quarterback, receiver, left tackle, and center. If the Jets did not keep him, he would likely land in a complementary situation and Id think would draw interest from teams like the Browns, Titans, and Lions. In general I think he fits the mold of a player that you can count on for around 45-50% participation in a very defined role.
Predicted Value: 3 years, $12-14 million
Chris Ivory, NYJ
Calculated: 3 years, $12.3M ($4.1M AAV)
Likely: 3 years $12M ($4M AAV)
Ivory was an integral part of the Jets improved offense in 2015, posting the first 1,000 yard season of his career. He’s set to hit the free agent market at 27, and should find a few multi-year offers should the Jets decide to go in a different direction. He matches up well with Mark Ingram, who scored a 4 year $16M deal in New Orleans last year. View the calculated projection here.
That's some consistency for you. Both sites have Ivory making around $4 million per year. By that measure, Ivory would be somewhere around the tenth highest paid back in the league.
That would be a tough call. I think I would have to pass, though. Part of it is I am not a fan of investing big in backs as they hit their late 20's. Ivory's workload has been smaller on paper than a lot of backs, but his running style makes the typical carry take a bigger toll than that of the average back.
I am also not a fan of paying somebody based on a career year. Ivory went over the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in a six year career in 2015. It was based largely on an unsustainable dominant stretch during the first four games where he gained 42.9% of his total yardage.
And as much as one might say he is an integral part of the offense, he was something of an afterthought when the Jets hit their offensive stride late in the season. The Jets became a passing team.
I'd love Ivory back at something resembling his current rate if the Jets could find another back who could push Ivory to a change of pace/fourth quarter closer role.
What do you think?