New York Jets – Trying To Make Sense Of It: Kalen Ballage

Matt Gianesses defends the New York Jets trade for Kalen Ballage

On Thursday afternoon, the Jets traded a 7th round, conditional pick for Miami’s Kalen Ballage. What exactly is a conditional draft pick? A pick that won’t be dealt unless specific details (conditions) are met. The conditions can be anything under the sun as long as both teams agree on them. Many, including myself, wondered why the Jets would trade for another running back when they already have three formidable guys. Let’s try to make sense of it.

One of the agreed upon conditions is for Ballage to make the Jets’ roster (Per Ian Rapoport). If the Jets choose to cut him, they get to keep their 7th round pick. And that may just happen. Kalen Ballage was not a good football player in 2019. He averaged 1.8 YPC in the backend of the season. (To be fair, Miami’s line was as bad as the Jets’.) He did, however, average 5+ YPC on Adam Gase’s Dolphins in 2018.

If the Jets sign Ballage, he’ll join an already talented, crowded backfield. One of the deepest positions on the team. So, how do we make sense of this?My gut tells me the Jets are evaluating if he’s a worthy special teams addition. At least I hope that’s their only intention. Nothing would be worse than another body eating carries from Le’Veon Bell. The thought of losing draft collateral for a proven below average player to date is frustrating. Addressing a deep position while others are so scarce is frustrating. But as long as this doesn’t effect Bell’s workload, all is well.

Social media is controversial by nature. We’re all guilty of getting sucked into it. Jets Twitter is certainly no exception. Matt Harmon called it, “the most shocking transaction of the offseason.”, presumably joking. Much more shocking than Hopkins to the Cardinals! Ian Rapaport tweeted Miami  had plans to release Ballage. People had a field day with that one too. The Jets were clearly interested enough to scoop him before he hit the market. This is not preceding a Le’Veon Bell trade (as some on Twitter have claimed). More than anything, it’s a hanging curveball for those who enjoy stirring the pot. The Jets are risking virtually nothing. We’re talking about a 7th round conditional pick at the end of the day. Is it perplexing? Yes. Do I like it? No. Does it really matter? Probably not.