What an odd way to start a Thursday afternoon. Shockingly, the Jets have acquired former Miami Dolphins running back Kalen Ballage in exchange for a conditional 7th-round pick. The trade was first reported by NFL Insider Ian Rapoport.
This isn’t the first time Gang Green has traded for a backup in exchange for a late-round pick. Last August, the Jets for Baltimore Ravens guard Alex Lewis in exchange for a late-round pick. Amidst an offensive line shuffle by general manager Joe Douglas, Lewis still remains on the team and is the team’s starting left guard.
Kalen Ballage was drafted by the Dolphins in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. In his rookie season, Ballage rushed for 191 yards on 36 attempts for one touchdown, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. His head coach was Adam Gase that season. Ballage played in 10 percent of offensive snaps.
In 2019, Ballage’s snap percentage went up but his statistics went down. He saw 23 percent of offensive snaps that season. Ballage rushed for 135 yards on 78 attempts, scoring three rushing touchowns and averaging 1.8 yards per carry.
Ballage did play in a new offensive scheme under new offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea. The Dolphins’ offensive line did regress heavily in 2019, ranking 31st in offensive line DVOA, per Football Outsiders. In the previous season, the Dolphins’ offensive line ranked 14th.
Ballage is a power back who pushes through the holes the offensive line gives him. Who’s at fault for his regression? He was shown a tendency to be inconsistent.
It’s quite questionable how the Jets have a pressing need at receiver but they traded for a running back.