NY Jets: Will the team re-sign or decline Bilal Powell?

NY Jets, Bilal Powell (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NY Jets, Bilal Powell (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets will have a decision to make on running back Bilal Powell this offseason. Should the Jets re-sign the long-tenured running back?

The NY Jets have seen plenty of roster turnover in recent years with few players remaining on the team for more than four or five years at a time. But one player who has lasted nearly a decade with the organization is running back Bilal Powell.

Powell was originally selected by the Jets in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft back nine years ago. The Louisville product would play in just two games during his rookie season, but he was able to crack the rotation by his second NFL season.

Despite never being a true feature back of the Jets’ backfield, Powell has been a steady presence for the team’s offense for essentially all of the 2010s. In nine seasons with the Jets, Powell has amassed 3,675 yards and 15 touchdowns on 850 attempts for a very solid 4.3 yards per carry.

Spending nine seasons with one franchise is a remarkable feat in today’s NFL, but even more incredible given his position. No other running back currently in the NFL has been with their respected franchise for longer than Powell has.

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And at 31-years-old, there aren’t too many that are even older than he is. Yet, he hasn’t exactly shown his age.

Even this past season, Powell rushed for 229 yards on a 3.9 yards-per-carry average despite running behind one of the worst offensive lines in football. At times, he was the Jets’ most effective backfield option.

But now that he’s a free agent once again, will the Jets opt to bring him back for one more season?

Should the Jets re-sign him?

The Jets will be looking to get younger across the board this offseason and that extends to their depth players. But there is a strong case to make regarding bringing Bilal Powell back.

The nine-year veteran is a locker room leader and could provide veteran leadership to what’s expected to be a new-look Jets offense in 2020. On top of that, let’s not discount the fact that he’s still very effective at what he does.

Powell is still a very capable runner who also doubles as a reliable pass catcher. Moreover, he’s excellent at picking up opposing blitzers — something very important given the Jets’ struggles in that regard last season.

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That said, he’ll be 32-years-old in October and the Jets could certainly stand to get younger at the running back position, perhaps by addressing the position in the draft.

But signing him to a cheap, non-guaranteed contract can’t hurt and it’s likely both sides are open to a return.

Will the Jets re-sign him?

Powell may be on the older side and his role may be diminished, but head coach Adam Gase seemed to like him more and more as the season went on.

It didn’t take long for Powell to overtake Ty Montgomery as the primary backup running back and he served as the lead ball-carrier during the one game that Le’Veon Bell missed.

The coaching staff is clearly high on Powell, but that doesn’t mean that his roster spot is safe.

Without a clear successor to Bell, the Jets very well could spend a draft pick on Powell with the hope that the rookie could become their primary second option. That could mean that the Jets are more willing to move on.

Ty Montgomery is also a free agent and likely won’t return, but the Jets also have the likes of Josh Adams, Trenton Cannon, Kenneth Dixon, and Jalin Moore all under contract. That’s already four camp bodies behind Bell who could compete for roster spots.

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There are reasons to believe that Bilal Powell will be back with the Jets for another season. But given his age and lack of a defined role, it’s not something you should be putting money on.

Odds of re-signing: 40%