Packers may have been interested in Matt Forte but didn't land him

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- So much for Matt Forte and the Green Bay Packers.

Whether there was genuine interest from general manager Ted Thompson or it was just an agent trying to leverage one team against the other may never be known.

But the former Chicago Bears running back won’t be heading north. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Forte will sign the New York Jets shortly after the free-agency period opens at 4 p.m. ET.

The Packers had been linked to Forte almost from the minute the Bears informed him they would not bring him back for a ninth season. And it made sense. The Packers want to light a fire under Eddie Lacy, who was told to get into better shape after underperforming in 2015, and backup James Starks also is scheduled to become a free agent.

It will be interesting to see what kind of money the Jets gave Forte, but considering he’s a first-day signing, it was probably more than the Packers would have been willing to pay for a 30-year-old running back. The Jets were need of a running back after Chris Ivory decided to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Perhaps the Packers planned to bring back Starks all along, but this may open the door for him to re-sign with the Packers.

The only other running back on the Packers’ roster is John Crockett, an undrafted free agent who was promoted from the practice squad last year as a rookie.

The Packers also have one fullback, Aaron Ripkowski, under contract. Veteran fullback John Kuhn will become a free agent but even though he will turn 34 in September, Kuhn wants to keep playing, according to his agent.