Kalen Ballage

Jets Release RB Kalen Ballage

Kalen Ballage‘s stint with the Jets didn’t end up lasting too long. New York is releasing the running back, the team announced Monday afternoon.

The Jets originally agreed to a trade with the Dolphins to land Ballage at the end of August, then canceled the deal after he failed his physical. Then they signed him as a free agent a few weeks ago, and he appeared in each of their last three games. He played a sizable role on passing downs, and had five catches for 44 yards in Week 3 against the Colts. Ballage was familiar with head coach Adam Gase from their time in Miami together.

His release is a good sign that the Jets expect Le’Veon Bell to be ready to return from his hamstring injury this week when they take on the Cardinals. A fourth-round pick out of Arizona State in 2018, Ballage seemed decent enough as a rookie before putting up dreadful numbers last year.

In 12 games and six starts in 2019, he mustered only 135 yards on 74 carries, good for a pitiful 1.8 yards per attempt. Still only 24, he should get another shot from someone else soon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Place WR Denzel Mims On IR

Denzel Mims‘ Jets debut will not happen until at least October. The Jets placed their second-round pick on IR Tuesday.

The Baylor product suffered a hamstring injury during training camp and missed Week 1. He will not be eligible to return until Week 5. The Jets placed Le’Veon Bell on IR as well and are signing running back Kalen Ballage.

Mims came to New York as one of the many highly coveted wideouts in this year’s historically deep receiver draft. But he has missed extensive time due to injury after the pandemic-altered offseason. Tuesday’s move will further delay Mims’ progress in his initial Jets campaign.

Ballage will rejoin Adam Gase, doing so after a rare Dolphins-Jets trade was nixed in late August. Ballage failed his physical due to a hamstring malady, leading to the Dolphins waiving the 2018 draftee. Ballage will join a Jets backfield that is down Bell and fourth-round rookie La’Mical Perine.

The Jets also placed linebacker Blake Cashman on IR. Cashman left Sunday’s game with an injury and will also be out until at least October.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Cancel Trade For Dolphins’ Kalen Ballage

Kalen Ballage isn’t going to the Jets after all. Ballage failed his physical with a hamstring injury, prompting the Jets to nix their trade with the Dolphins (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). 

[RELATED: Bell, Gase Still At Odds?]

The Jets are still intrigued by Ballage’s skillset and Rapoport hears that he could circle back to Gang Green once he’s healthy. But, for now, he’ll revert to the Dolphins, who are expected to cut him. The Jets, meanwhile, may have a little extra urgency in their running back search after rookie RB La’Mical Perine injured his ankle during practice on Sunday. If it’s more than a mild sprain, the Jets will need some additional support behind top rushers Le’Veon Bell and Frank Gore.

In other Jets news, the drama between Bell and Adam Gase does not appear to be over. Bell took issue with the head coach pulling him from a scrimmage and the veteran running back has not impressed thus far in training camp.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Trade Kalen Ballage To Jets

Earlier today, the Dolphins toldd Kalen Ballage that he was getting cut. Instead, they’re trading the running back to the rival Jets, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. In exchange, Miami will receive a conditional late-round draft choice.

It’s a situation that plays out often in the NFL. Before formally releasing a player, teams will often leak word of their impending release to reporters. That sometimes prompts teams further down the waiver wire to make a call. In this case, it worked out for the Dolphins, who will be receiving something, rather than nothing, for their former fourth-round pick.

In an admittedly small sample size of 36 carries, Ballage averaged 5.3 yards per attempt as a rookie. He was far less impressive last season, but the Jets could find a role for him behind starter Le’Veon Bell and RB2 Frank Gore.

Dolphins Cut Kalen Ballage

The Dolphins are set to release running back Kalen Ballage, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Ballage had lots of hype as a rookie in 2018, but the former fourth-round pick managed just 135 yards off of 74 carries last year. 

[RELATED: Dolphins’ Vince Biegel Tears Achilles]

Ballage, a taller-than-average RB at 6’3″, averaged 4.4 yards per carry while at Arizona State. As a rookie, he showed promise as a supporting cast member behind Kenyan Drake and veteran Frank Gore. In an admittedly small sample size of 36 carries, Ballage averaged 5.3 yards per attempt. Unfortunately, he regressed in 2019 and failed to make significant strides as a receiver.

Now, the league’s 31 other teams will have an opportunity to claim Ballage off of the waiver wire. If he is not picked up in the next 24 hours, the 24-year-old will be free to sign with any club of his choosing.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/3/19

We’ll keep track of today’s minor NFL moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

  • Claimed: C Patrick Morris (from Steelers)

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

  • Promote TE Kendall Blanton
  • Placed on IR: WR JoJo Natson

Miami Dolphins

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Dolphins Notes: Mills, Drake, Ledbetter

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald passes along a veritable treasure trove of notes for Dolphins fans today, so let’s dive right in:

  • Although free agent acquisition Jordan Mills was disappointing in minicamp and was replaced at right tackle by Jesse Davis, Jackson says the Dolphins are still very much open to having Mills man the RT position. The club will give him a chance to redeem himself in training camp and may elect to keep Davis at guard, where he played last year. Zach Sterup is also in the mix for the right tackle job.
  • Jackson believes that running back Kenyan Drake has been woefully underutilized to date and that he should be getting 12 to 18 carries a game. Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics support Jackson’s opinion, citing Drake’s ability to win after early contact and force missed tackles. However, PFF also says Kalen Ballage should serve as Miami’s primary third-down/receiving back, which Jackson’s eye test does not support. Jackson says Ballage looked “unnatural” as a receiver out of the backfield during the club’s offseason program, and he even says the embattled Mark Walton could be the Dolphins’ best receiving back. Drake and Ballage will have plenty of opportunity to prove their worth in 2019, which is an especially crucial year for Drake, a 2020 free agent.
  • UDFAs often have a better chance of cracking the roster of a rebuilding team like the Dolphins then they would on a club with playoff aspirations, and Jackson says Miami hopes at least one of the its undrafted defensive linemen — Dewayne Hendrix and Jonathan Ledbetter — will make the cut. Ledbetter, one of the best collegiate DEs at stopping the run, is attempting to diversify his game by refining his pass rush skills.
  • The team also has several UDFA cornerbacks that merit some attention, and the new coaching staff had plenty of luck developing that type of prospect in New England. 2018 UDFA Jalen Davis flashed in minicamp this year, and while the Dolphins have taken a look at him both outside the numbers and in the slot, his size (5-10, 185) may make him better-suited to a slot role.

Dolphins Sign Three Draft Picks

The Dolphins announced the signings of three draft picks on Wednesday. Third-round linebacker Jerome Baker, fourth-round tight end Durham Smythe, and fourth-round running back Kalen Ballage have inked their deals, leaving second-round tight end Mike Gesicki as the last straggler in the team’s eight-man class. 

Baker was Ohio State’s leading tackler last year as he registered 72 stops in total. He also had eight tackles for a loss and 3.5 sacks in his final year on campus. As shown on Roster Resource, Baker projects to be one of the team’s first linebackers off of the bench behind starters Kiko AlonsoRaekwon McMillan, and Chase Allen. Some evaluators feel that Baker is too small to play linebacker at the pro level, but Alonso doesn’t seem concerned about the 6’1″, 229-pound prospect.

Nowadays it’s all about, ‘Can you run?’” Alonso said recently (via Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post). “You see what linebacker position is nowadays. It’s getting smaller and smaller.”

Smythe, a Notre Dame product, put himself on the NFL radar with his blocking ability. He figures to do the dirty work while fellow rookie Gesicki figures to play a bigger role in the passing game.

Ballage, a tall running back at 6’3″, averaged 4.4 yards per carry while at Arizona State. He’ll likely serve as the Dolphins’ No. 3 running back this year behind Kenyan Drake and veteran Frank Gore.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.