Running back Justin Forsett started the first three games of the regular season for the Baltimore Ravens. On Sunday, he was a game day inactive, a healthy scratch. On Tuesday, the organization and Forsett ‘mutually’ agreed to part ways.
Of course, it was not as though there were no hints of this whatsoever. In fact, the Ravens actually released Forsett after the final roster cuts were made in order to make necessary roster moves at the time, but they later re-signed him for the same value contract that he was scheduled to earn prior to his being released.
The Ravens were not doing a particularly effective job running the ball over the course of the first three weeks, which is a topic that I actually wrote about a week or so ago, but the team felt that they were ‘close’, and among those who believed that was Forsett.
But through the first three games of the season, Forsett carried the ball just 31 times and gained a mere 98 yards, averaging just 3.2 yards per rush attempt without a score. He also added 11 receptions for just 36 yards, averaging 3.3 yards per reception.
The reason for the move was because neither the team nor Forsett saw an opportunity for the veteran running back to play a significant role in the offense going forward, and he wanted to have an opportunity to be able to play for another team this season where he might be able to have a larger role than what he would have had in Baltimore.
Part of the reason for the move was the emergence of running back Terrance West, who rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries on Sunday against the Raiders. The Ravens see him playing a bigger role in the offense going forward, in addition to Buck Allen, who saw three carries for 13 yards on Sunday.
The other factor at play is the pending debut of rookie running back Kenneth Dixon, who has spent the first month of the season recovering from an MCL injury. The team believes that he will be able to make his first appearance in their next game, which would likely bump Forsett to the role of game-day scratch again anyway.
The Ravens have high hopes for the rookie running back, and believe that he could end up as their starting running back by the end of the season, if not sooner. They believe that they will be more successful with Dixon, West, and Allen at the running back position than with Forsett in their offense, which no longer emphasizes zone runs as often.
Baltimore will still have to pay Forsett his fully salary due to the fact that he was on the opening-day roster and he is a vested veteran, which means that if he is able to land a spot on another roster, he will be able to earn two salaries for this season.