N.J. Advance Media reported Friday that Forte will be the man, while Powell will again come as a "regularly-used compliment."
Forte, 31, is coming off of a declining season. In 2016 he averaged 3.7 yards per carry for 813 yards and seven scores on 218 carries. He also had a receiving score, but a career-low 263 receiving yards. Forte's 3.7 yards per carry amounted to his lowest mark since 2009. The two-time Pro Bowl selection turns 32 years old this season. In contrast, the 28-year-old Powell plodded for a career-best 5.5 yards per carry. He turned 131 totes into 722 yards and three scores. He also had two scores through the air.
Jets running backs coach Stump Mitchell told N.J. Advance Media that rookie Elijah McGuire will also "contribute." Still, the sixth-round pick out of Louisiana-Lafayette is expected to be used sparingly. He was also used as a punt and kicker returner during OTAs and minicamp.
Jets first year offensive coordinator John Morton has maintained that he plans to use both running backs. But running backs coach Stump Mitchell told reporters last week at minicamp that he thought Powell would be a Pro Bowler if used as a feature back.
"Bilal is a Pro Bowl back if he was playing by himself, make no doubt about that," Mitchell said, according to ESPN.
Coach Todd Bowles has not committed to either back this offseason, but he did shy away from giving Powell the job.
"I think he can be a very good player if he [Powell] was the featured back every down, I think Forte could be a good player if he was the featured back every down," Bowles told reporters at mandatory minicamp. "We have two of them. Obviously, as the games go and you get burnt out a little bit, you want to give a guy a break or one guy or the other and not burn them out. We've got two good backs and we'll use them."
Forte is set to thrive in the Jets' offense, despite a cast of unproven quarterbacks leading it. He said the system installed by new offensive coordinator John Morton suits his skill-set.
"It's going to be good," Forte told the team website. "I've been in a West Coast offense before many times. I had a lot of coordinators throughout my stint in the NFL. I love it because it's designed for a running back who can catch the ball out of the backfield and be versatile out there."
"This offense has a pretty fast pace to it. Johnny Mo knows exactly what he's doing out there. He's a great, intelligent coordinator, so I know he's going to put us in good positions to make the plays. You can have the most talented team you want to, but if guys don't get put in the right position to make plays and do what they do best on the field, then we're not going to score a lot of points."
The veteran envisions being on the field at the same time as Powell during some portions of the season.
Players report to Jets training camp on July 28. The first public training camp practice is planned for July 31 at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, N.J.