FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — The New York Jets have acquired running back Kalen Ballage from the Miami Dolphins for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2021.
The trade between the AFC East rivals on Thursday reunites Ballage with coach Adam Gase, who was in charge in Miami when the Dolphins drafted him in the fourth round out of Arizona State.
The Jets also activated cornerback Bryce Hall from the COVID-19 list and waived running back Pete Guerriero.
The 24-year-old Ballage joins a backfield in New York that includes Le’Veon Bell, Frank Gore, Josh Adams and fourth-round pick La’Mical Perine.
Ballage’s spot on Miami’s roster was uncertain and he reportedly was likely to be released. Instead of potentially trying to acquire him through waivers, the Jets made the deal with the Dolphins to assure themselves of adding him.
Ballage has outstanding speed and is powerfully built at 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds. After a solid college career, Gase and the Dolphins added him to their ground game and the rookie showed promise in limited action.
He ran for 191 yards on 36 carries — a 5.3 yard average — and a touchdown, along with nine catches for 56 yards. But he struggled in his second season after Gase went to the Jets, averaging only 1.8 yards per carry while finishing with 135 yards on 74 attempts.
Ballage’s average was the worst by a running back with at least 70 carries since Phil Sarboe had a 1.2-yard average for two teams in 1936. Ballage spent the last four weeks last season on injured reserve after hurting his left leg.
Hall was a fifth-round pick out of Virginia whose stock in the draft likely fell because of a season-ending ankle injury. He had been on the Jets’ COVID-19 list since camp began two weeks ago.
Guerriero was signed by New York on Tuesday, but was cut after just two practices. He left Monmouth following his junior year after leading the Football Championship Subdivision in rushing in 2019.