NY Jets: Analyzing the running backs after the first wave of free agency

NY Jets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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NY Jets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

No, the NY Jets‘ monster deal with Le’Veon Bell did not work out. In fact, it was really a disaster from the start, as the two-time All-Pro back could never find his footing in the Big Apple. Yet it did teach the Jets an important lesson — running backs should not be overpaid.

Considered the most replaceable position, the prime shelf life of a back comes and goes in a flash. For example, simply take New York’s recent rushing leaders into consideration.

Since 2015, the Jets have had a different leading rusher every year, being Chris Ivory (2015), Matt Forte (2016), Bilal Powell (2017), Isaiah Crowell (2018), Le’Veon Bell (2019), and Frank Gore (2020).

In other words, the Jets are well aware of how interchangeable running backs can be. And with that, it makes sense why the team did not invest heavily again into running backs.

After all, general manager Joe Douglas did not want to make the same mistake his predecessor Mike Maccagnan did with Bell.

With new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, the Jets are likely going to take the committee approach that embraces this flexible backfield approach. And now, the question becomes, who exactly will be running the football for the Jets in 2021?

To this point, the Jets have five running backs under contract for this upcoming season. So let’s take a look at where each one of them stands with the team prior to the 2021 NFL Draft.

Next: Looking to stick on the roster