After seeing his value dwindle behind the likes of Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory finally looks like he has a chance to show he can be a featured back in the NFL.
While it's still a bit premature, ESPN New York's Rich Cimini tweeted that he suspects the Jets will offer up their fifth-round pick in this year's draft for Ivory's services. Ivory was tendered at a second rounder, which is worth one-year, $2.023 million. But now that he is under contract, he doesn't have to actually be traded for that much. The Saints would do well by at least getting a fifth rounder for a player who, lets face it, has an uphill climb on the Saints' depth chart. And with the Jets' fifth coming in at No. 141 overall, the Saints are close to getting the fourth-round compensation they had been seeking.
So lets say the trade goes down and Ivory becomes a Jet for at least 2013. The trade does change the makeup of what we had originally thought would be Mike Goodson being the starting running back come Week One. Goodson was signed to a three-year deal, but only received a little under $2 million in a signing bonus. Hardly featured back money. If Ivory comes into the fold, does he become the favorite? In my opinion, a big YES.
If you go back to Ivory's rookie season, he had appeared in 12 games after Pierre Thomas suffered an ankle injury in Week 3 against the Falcons in 2010. In that year, Ivory amassed 716 off just 137 carries and averaged a very healthy 5.2 yards per carry. He also punched in 5 rushing touchdowns. Goodson has had some success. He did average 6.3 yards a tote last year in Oakland. But if you compare the two side by side, I like Ivory's ceiling much more.
But even if Ivory does wear the green and white, it's going to be hard seeing him as a true featured back. Goodson will take some of the carries away. And since Ivory isn't really known for being much of a pass catcher (3 receptions in 3 years), Bilal Powell could find himself in a role on passing downs. This could wind up being a dreaded RBBC. Rex Ryan usually likes to roll with one guy. But after so many mistakes over the last last few seasons with Shonn Greene, he could have a change of heart.
If it was any other team, I would say Ivory will have a chance to gain much of the fantasy value he had lost over the years. A new team and a new sense of value goes along way towards a player's edginess. But this is the Jets. They need help EVERYWHERE. So because of that, I can't recommend Ivory as anything more than a flex option. When you have a disaster at the quarterback and wide receiver position, you better believe defenses are going to be stacking the box on every play in 2013.