With the signing of Jordan Howard and the trade for Matt Breida, Kalen Ballage fell down the running back pecking order for the Miami Dolphins pretty quickly. So it was no surprise on Wednesday when news surfaced he was being waived. The Dolphins were fine with not getting anything for him.
Not so fast. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the New York Jets will send a conditional late-round pick to the Dolphins for Ballage.
As Rapoport went on to mention, Ballage was a fourth-round pick by the Dolphins in 2018 out of Arizona State. Who was Miami’s head coach then? Jets’ head coach Adam Gase, of course.
Behind a bad offensive line, Ballage plodded his way to 1.8 yards per carry for the Dolphins last year (135 yards and three touchdowns on 74 carries). But as a rookie under Gase, he averaged 5.3 yards per carry with a 100-yard game in even less work (36 carries). An optimist, with just 110 career carries and 23 career catches, could see untapped potential in Ballage.
Where Does Kalen Ballage Fit In The Jets’ Backfield?
The Jets already have Le’Veon Bell, Frank Gore and rookie Lamical Perine at running back. Gore is another one of Gase’s “guys”, as he led the 2018 Dolphins in carries, and talk of reducing Bell’s workload has been consistent and prevalent. Gase’s rumored dislike for the Bell signing is also worthy of mention. In any case, Ballage has an uphill climb to earn a notable role.
If Ballage doesn’t make the Jets’ 53-man roster, then they surely won’t have to send a late-round draft pick to the Dolphins. But it seems Gase just has to show he was right about Ballage. So giving up a non-premium draft pick is the cost of doing business for the Jets if it meant securing his services.