The NY Jets have released running back Kalen Ballage after only three games with the team.
Ballage was originally signed by the Jets on September 15th with the team needing running back depth following an injury to Le’Veon Bell.
This marked the second time the Jets had “acquired him” after they attempted to do so at the end of August before a failed physical rendered the trade null and void.
Ballage played three games with the Jets rushing the ball three times for 13 yards. He was primarily used in third-down situations and he was able to make much more of an impact in the passing game.
The 24-year-old hauled in nine catches for 67 yards including five grabs for 44 yards in Week 3. Ballage actually played quite a bit this past week checking in for 30 offensive snaps (39 percent).
This begs the question of why the Jets didn’t opt to use fourth-round rookie La’Mical Perine more if the plan was to release Ballage anyway. Perine saw the field for just 10 snaps despite Ballage’s struggles.
The NY Jets releasing Kalen Ballage doesn’t come as a surprise.
Either way, this was far from an unexpected move.
Bell has missed the last three weeks with a hamstring injury but is likely to be activated off the injured reserve ahead of the team’s Week 5 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals.
On top of that, the Jets claimed former Detroit Lions draft pick Ty Johnson off waivers on Friday adding yet another running back to a suddenly crowded depth chart.
The Jets weren’t going to carry five running backs and Bell, Frank Gore, Perine, and the recently-claimed Johnson weren’t going anywhere. Ballage was the team’s only option.
Ballage notably struggled in pass protection last week surrendering a couple of sacks. In fact, his woeful 14.8 pass-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus is the worst of any qualified running back in the NFL.
It will be interesting to see if the Jets bring Ballage back on the practice squad as extra depth. They don’t currently have a running back signed to the practice squad so it might make sense to do so.
The Jets also announced that quarterback Mike White, who was released ahead of the team’s Thursday night loss to the Denver Broncos, was signed to the practice squad.
It would be logical for the Jets to release 30-year-old quarterback David Fales from the practice squad and sign Ballage to take his place. After all, with Joe Flacco back, the team doesn’t need to carry five quarterbacks.
Either way, Ballage’s time on the active roster is over, at least for now.