The NY Jets have been actively exploring the free-agent running back market this offseason. And on Wednesday, they finally found their guy reportedly adding veteran running back Tevin Coleman to the roster.
Coleman reunites with head coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur who he spent the last two years with in San Francisco. And his familiarity in LaFleur’s scheme is likely why the Jets targeted him.
While the Jets have failed to sign a number of former 49ers that they reportedly had interest in this offseason (K’Waun Williams, Kyle Juszczyk, etc.), they finally landed one in the form of Coleman.
Tevin Coleman provides experience to the NY Jets’ running back room
Coleman was originally selected in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons which is where he spent the first four years of his career.
The majority of that time was spent playing second-fiddle to Devonta Freeman, but he finally got the chance at a featured role in 2017 when Freeman went down with an injury.
He impressed rushing for a career-high 800 yards on 4.8 yards per carry. It was enough to earn him a new deal with the 49ers in free agency where he went on to serve as the team’s lead back in 2019.
Coleman was an important part of the 49ers’ running-back rotation in his first season rushing for 544 yards and six touchdowns while average 4.0 yards per carry. Unfortunately, an injury limited his 2020 campaign to just eight games and San Francisco moved on after the season.
The soon-to-be 28-year-old provides a sense of stability to a Jets’ running-back depth chart that was looking rather thin. While Ty Johnson and Josh Adams impressed in limited snaps last season, they’re far from sure things.
The same goes for 2019 fourth-round pick La’Mical Perine who had somewhat of an underwhelming rookie campaign. The Jets are likely to target a running back at some point in the draft, but adding a veteran like Coleman was crucial.
When healthy, Coleman is a perfect fit in LaFleur’s outside-zone scheme. He possesses good speed (ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at his pro day), excellent vision, and soft hands that make him a prototypical LaFleur running back.
Coleman will likely go into 2021 as the expected lead running back, but will certainly compete for touches throughout the season.
Expect a heavy committee approach to the backfield in 2021. The signing of Tevin Coleman just adds a reliable veteran to said committee.