Last week, we looked into who the Jets' number four wide receiver could be in 2020. This week, we're going to focus on the running back position to try and determine who will be the number three.
The recently signed Frank Gore has been talking to the media this afternoon about, among other things, how he is prepared to "take a backseat" to Le'Veon Bell.
After some initial speculation from some corners of the media that Gore might be getting a big workload with the implication that Bell would be gradually phased out, this seems to confirm that the veteran Gore is going to be used in a reserve role to keep Bell, and perhaps himself, fresher during the season.
Last year, Adam Gase praised the likes of Ty Montgomery, Bilal Powell and Trenton Cannon during training camp and implied that each could have a big role during the season.
However, once the games got underway, Bell was in the game virtually all the time; in fact he played every snap in week one. Other than the week 14 game when Bell was unwell and went bowling instead, Montgomery never carried more than five times in a game and Powell never carried 10 times in a game. Cannon only played one offensive snap all season.
If Gase struggled to find any reps for his reserve running back(s) last year, can we even expect the number three to get any work with Gore and Bell ahead of him or will this role only be important in the event of an injury?
Let's look at who the candidates are for this role:
The rookie fourth rounder may have a better chance than Gore or Bell - plus the other reserves - of being on the Jets' roster next season. However, it doesn't guarantee him any snaps in 2020 if Bell and Gore are healthy.
If he ends up glued to the bench most of the time, Perine certainly won't be the first rookie to find himself in such a predicament. Look no further than Powell himself, who was a healthy scratch in 14 games in his rookie year and was thoroughly underwhelming in the action he did see as he carried 13 times for 21 yards and fumbled once. However, Perine has experience as a pass blocker and on special teams, which should improve his chances of getting on the field.
Bonus Link: Our in-depth scouting report on Perine
While Dixon hasn't been talked about much this offseason, he's averaged 4.8 yards per carry in his career and once had a 100-yard game at the NFL level. He's had some injury issues, but has shown that he can be productive in the past.
Despite being more experienced than Perine overall, Dixon is weak as a pass blocker and has had some issues with fumbles in the past. However, he's got some talent if he can shed the durability concerns.
Bonus Link: Our in-depth scouting report on Dixon
Adams only carried eight times for 12 yards with the Jets last year, but actually led the Eagles in rushing as an undrafted rookie, totaling 511 at an average of 4.3 per carry.
While he didn't have a 100-yard game in 2018, Adams went over 80 twice, which is one more than Bell managed last season. While he might not offer much as a pass catcher, he has shown he can handle a starter's workload if necessary.
Bonus Link: Our in-depth scouting report on Adams
While he's arguably the least likely of these players to get any offensive touches other than on a few gimmick-style plays, Cannon still has the inside track to being active on gamedays due to his excellent all-round play on special teams.
Although he hasn't done much as a return man yet, Cannon has been superb in kick coverage and has also contributed as a blocker. While he might be able to fill in if there's an injury during a game, you'd expect one of the other backs to be activated and get reps ahead of him in the event of a longer term injury.
Bonus Link: Our in-depth scouting report on Cannon
Reports emerged this week that the Jets might be interested in signing free agent Devonta Freeman. This seems unlikely because - unless the Jets are trading Bell - all this would provide them with other than a logjam at running back is some veteran injury cover. However, with Seattle already supposedly having offered him a $4 million contract, that's a steep price to pay when you have other options that could give you adequate cover that probably isn't far off what Freeman would provide anyway.
Montgomery signed with the Saints last week but Powell is still unsigned. He re-signed late with the Jets in early June last year when we were all assuming he was gone, though, so maybe he'll repeat that this year. It seems highly unlikely though.
Who do you think should be the number three and what kind of workload do you see them getting during the season?