On Tuesday, the New York Jets decided to cut ties with running back Michael Carter. After being selected in the fourth round of the 2021 draft, the 24-year-old established himself as a vital member of the team’s locker room, but since his rookie season, he has witnessed a major decline in playing time.
Carter continued to be the Jets’ starting third-down back, but his on-field output decreased. In nine games this season, he only managed 38 running yards on eight rushes and 15 receptions for 68 yards. He played in 11 special teams snaps and 142 offensive snaps throughout the season. His final snap happened on Sunday night on the first drive of the second half. It resulted in a chop block penalty on a third-and-eight, which erased a first down and kept him out of the game for the rest of it.
The issue at running back became more problematic with the signing of Dalvin Cook, who, although a consistent 1,000-yard rusher, expressed dissatisfaction with his small role. Breece Hall’s outstanding skill set has allowed him to establish himself as the team’s top back, receiving the majority of touches. Hall has accumulated 521 running yards, two touchdowns, 26 receptions for 246 yards, and one receiving touchdown in nine games this season.
After an outstanding rookie campaign in which he totaled 964 yards from scrimmage and proved to be a value in the fourth round, Carter’s output started to drop. His first-year performance, which included 639 rushing yards and 325 receiving yards, raised the bar. Carter’s stats declined the next season, though, as he only ran for 402 yards and three touchdowns while still collecting 41 receptions for 288 yards.
This season, the Jets’ running back group saw changes as Israel Abanikanda was drafted in the fifth round, and Dalvin Cook was added as the second overall pick after Breece Hall. Brooklyn native Abanikanda has been on the inactive list throughout game days for the majority of the season. It is expected that Abanikanda will now get the chance to demonstrate his abilities on the field with Carter’s release. He showed promise in the preseason, averaging 4.5 yards per run and hauling in a touchdown.
The Jets’ running game currently ranks 31st in rushing attempts, with 198 through the first 10 weeks of the season.