NY Jets trade for former fourth-round RB Kalen Ballage

NY Jets, Kalen Ballage (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
NY Jets, Kalen Ballage (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets have reportedly traded for Miami Dolphins running back Kalen Ballage.

The NY Jets have reportedly added some extra running back depth ahead of the start of the 2020 regular season sending a conditional late-round pick to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for running back Kalen Ballage.

Ballage was reportedly released by the Dolphins on Wednesday but the Jets swooped in last minute and pivoted to trade for the running back before he hit the waiver wire.

A fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Ballage found mild success under current Jets head coach Adam Gase in his rookie season. The former Arizona State star rushed for 191 yards and a touchdown on a very efficient 5.3 yards per carry.

It should be noted that only came on 36 carries and included a 75-yard run as well. Still, it was an impressive showing for the young running back.

Unfortunately, Miami’s offensive line — and their entire offense — took a major step back in 2019 and he rushed for just 135 yards despite more than double the carries. The result was a downright ugly 1.8 yards per carry.

The former fourth-round pick found himself passed over for the likes of Myles Gaskin and Patrick Laird and soon fell out of favor with the coaching staff. Following the additions of Matt Breida and Jordan Howard in the offseason, it was clear he no longer had a role on the team.

What are the NY Jets getting in new running back, Kalen Ballage?

Many considered Ballage to be one of the steals of the 2018 NFL Draft with comparisons being drawn between himself and the likes of David Johnson and, yes, Le’Veon Bell.

At 6-foot-2, 231 pounds, Ballage ran a very impressive 4.46 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and showed off his excellent blend of size and speed.

A productive runner in college, Ballage made history in his junior season tying the FBS record for touchdowns in a game scoring a whopping eight in the Sun Devils’ victory over the Patrick Mahomes-led Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Given the lack of inherent risk with the deal and Ballage’s prior success under Gase, this move makes some sense. Obviously, running back depth isn’t a pressing need with Bell, Frank Gore, and La’Mical Perine all looking good in training camp.

But this is a low-risk scenario for a player who once had considerable hype coming out of college.

It remains to be seen if Ballage will make the team and meet the conditions of the trade (the details are still unknown), but at the very least, the Jets have added some additional running back depth.

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And given the lack of risk, it’s hard to be mad about that.