The Miami Dolphins got one up on the rival New York Jets.
On Wednesday, reports out of Miami indicated that the Dolphins were planning on releasing third-year running back Kalen Ballage.
Given the team already traded for Matt Breida and signed Jordan Howard in free agency this offseason, Ballage entered training camp on the roster bubble.
But then, a miracle happened. A Miami miracle, have you.
The rival New York Jets stepped in on Thursday before Ballage was set to hit the open market, and offered the Dolphins a conditional late-round draft pick. General manager Chris Grier and head coach Brian Flores have to be laughing during training camp, because they fleeced their divisional foe.
Ballage now joins a team with an already-loaded running back depth chart
With the trade going through the transaction wire, Ballage reunites with his former head coach in Adam Gase. Ballage was used as a rotational back in 2018, his lone season with Gase, and averaged a staggering 5.3 yards per carry.
As is the case with any head coach, they want to bring in players that they’re accustomed with. That’s likely why the Jets pulled the trigger on acquiring him.
While that’s all well and good, the Jets didn’t need to add another running back, especially one who averaged a brutal 1.8 yards per carry last season. Le’Veon Bell is the undisputed starter, where he’s expected to put up better numbers behind a new and improved offensive line. Behind Bell will be Frank Gore, the ageless wonder who is also an acquaintance of Gase.
Finally, there’s La’Michal Perine, the fourth-round rookie out of Florida, who has already shown that he’s a big play threat during Jets training camp.
Where’s the room for Ballage, exactly? Because we don’t see how Ballage will make an impact besides one of the aforementioned rusher going down with an injury. The Jets must’ve panicked after seeing the starting offense struggle mightily in a scrimmage game on Wednesday.
As for the Dolphins, they now get an extra draft pick instead of letting Ballage walk for nothing. It’s a savvy move by Miami’s front office. They’re not a team that will contend in 2020, but can reach that point down the road with a strong NFL Draft. Adding a late-round pick could help the Dolphins trade up for an impact player in 2021 draft class. That’s wise strategy for the Dolphins.
Gase may view it as a win, but it’s hard to see trading a late-round pick for a number four running back on the depth chart as a justifiable move.