Jets release RB Michael Carter: Why New York made the unexpected move

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The New York Jets released running back Michael Carter, the team announced Tuesday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Carter, 24, picked up only eight carries for 38 yards in nine games this season. He added 15 receptions for 68 yards in 2023.
  • The tailback sat third on the depth chart this season behind Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook.
  • The Jets’ 2021 fourth-round pick tallied 1,079 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in 39 career games in New York. He also had 92 receptions for 681 yards.

Why the Jets made this unexpected move

Carter had an impressive rookie season and it looked like the Jets might’ve found at least a rotational running back. As a rookie, Carter was 12th among all running backs in missed tackles forced, per Pro Football Focus, along with averaging 4.3 yards per carry and contributing as a pass-catcher, too (36 receptions). But Carter regressed in his second year (3.5 yards per carry) and admitted to not handling it well when the Jets traded for James Robinson in 2022.

The writing was on the wall when the Jets signed Cook during training camp, coupled with the return of Hall. Carter still was playing as the Jets’ primary third down back — much to the dismay of many fans — but wasn’t contributing much either as a rusher (two carries), receiver (4.5 yards per reception) or blocker. He was benched during the loss to the Raiders after a costly chop block penalty. It always seemed likely that the Jets would bench Carter for rookie Israel Abanikanda this week, especially after coach Robert Saleh hinted at some coming “personnel changes” on Monday. But the decision to all together waive Carter was a surprise.

Which RBs could have bigger roles now?

Now the Jets will give more of a role to Abanikanda, the fifth-round pick who was a healthy scratch in every game this season. Abanikanda is a fast, shifty running back that flashed his talent in the preseason when he averaged 4.5 yards per carry and scored a touchdown. The Jets also have running back Xazavian Valladay on the practice squad. — Zack Rosenblatt, Jets staff writer

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(Photo: Dustin Bradford / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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