Jets reach deals with RBs Bilal Powell, Khiry Robinson

ByRich Cimini ESPN logo
Thursday, March 10, 2016

The New York Jetscompleted their backfield makeover on Thursday, re-signing running back Bilal Powelland agreeing to a contract with Khiry Robinson, sources told ESPN. The moves comea day after the team added former Chicago Bears star Matt Forte.

After losing leading rusher Chris Ivory to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Jets will go into the season with a Powell-Robinson-Forte committee. Forte, 30, agreed Wednesday to a three-year, $12 million contract.

With Forte and Powell, the Jets now have two pass-catching backs, adding versatility to the offense.

Used primarily on third downs last season, Powell, 27, recorded career highs for receptions (47) and receiving yards (388). He missed five games in 2015 with multiple ankle injuries.

Robinson was supposed to be a restricted free agent, but he didn't receive a tender from the New Orleans Saints. He suffered a broken leg last November and finished the season on injured reserve, but he's expected to make a full recovery.

Robinson, 26, an undrafted free agent out of West Texas A&M in 2013, has rushed for 766 yards, a 4.1 average and eight touchdowns.

Powell, a fourth-round pick in 2011, was a complementary back in his first five seasons. In 2015, head coach Todd Bowles was so impressed with Powell that he called him one of the biggest surprises of the season.

Powell, 27, was a key factor during the Jets' five-game winning streak late last season, catching 32 passes for 299 yards over that span. He reinjured his ankle and didn't play in Week 17, hurting the offense in a crushing loss to the Buffalo Bills that cost the Jets a playoff spot.

Powell's best season from a rushing standpoint came in 2013, when he split carries Ivory and ran for 697 yards. Powell was a nonfactor in 2014, buried beneath Ivory and Chris Johnson on the depth chart. Nevertheless, the Jets re-signed Powell to a one-year, $2 million deal, and he proved his value in a third-down role.

In five seasons, Powell has 1,609 rushing yards on 402 carries with seven touchdowns.

ESPN's Adam Schefter contributed to this report.

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