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Why Jets were wise to re-sign RB Bilal Powell

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 13: Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets leaps over E.J. Gaines #33 of the Los Angeles Rams in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium on November 13, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 13: Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets leaps over E.J. Gaines #33 of the Los Angeles Rams in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium on November 13, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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Bilal Powell is a respected and solid veteran player, and the Jets were wise to resign him. 

Between the NFL Draft, the Jets’ signing of star players like Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley, and the hiring of a new General Manager, the Jets’ offseason has been filled with headline grabbing moves.

While the splashy decisions are the most exciting, it is sometimes the under-the-radar signings that can have the biggest impact over the course of a season.

The Jets decision to resign Bilal Powell this week may end up being one of those unheralded but essential moves.

We’ve agreed to terms with RB Bilal Powell.

— New York Jets (@nyjets) June 7, 2019

At first glance, it doesn’t look like the Jets need Powell. Between newcomers Ty Montgomery and Bell and incumbent Jets Elijah McGuire and Trenton Cannon, the team has an overflowing depth chart at running back.

While McGuire, Cannon, and Montgomery are intriguing players, Powell has a better track record of success than any of them. Powell has three seasons of 600+ rushing yards; the other running backs on the roster (not named Bell) have combined for zero such seasons.

Over an eight year career, Powell has amassed 3,446 rushing yards. He is currently ranked 10th on the team’s list of all-time rushers. Considering that Powell has spent much of his career as a backup, his accomplishments are all the more impressive.

In addition to his on-field achievements, it is worth noting that Powell is a professional player and leader. He is a lifelong Jet and he is the kind of player a franchise can take pride in. In an era where NFL players are continually surrounded by new scandals and criminal chargers, there is a lot to be said for that.

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It is worth acknowledging that Powell is already 30 years old, and that he is recovering from a major neck injury. He might not have many good football plays left in him.

But here’s the real question Jets fans should be asking. What does the team lose by signing him?

Given his age and injury history, Powell almost certainly didn’t cost the Jets much. If he doesn’t play well enough in camp to earn a spot, the team will most likely be able to easily cut him. And if he does make the team, he will provide stability, leadership, and veteran experience on offense.

The Jets make plenty of head-scratching decisions, but their move to bring back Powell isn’t one of them. Even the most cynical fans would be hard-pressed to find anything about it to criticize.

As one of those cynical and often critical fans, I love the move and expect it to be pay serious dividends at some point this season.

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