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New York Jets Options to Replace Breece Hall

Jets Breece Hall

On Sunday, October 23rd, the New York Jets defeated the Denver Broncos 16-9, securing their fourth straight victory. However, it did not come without a cost. During the game, rookie sensation Breece Hall suffered a torn ACL and minor meniscus injury that will cost him the remainder of the 2022 season.

The 36th overall pick in this past year’s draft was viewed as the early leader in the Offensive Rookie of the Year clubhouse. Through seven games, Hall averaged 5.8 yards per carry and ranks fourth on the team in receiving yards. In just 223 offensive snaps, Hall saw 99 touches from scrimmage for 681 yards and five touchdowns. Over the course of a season, that is well over 1,600 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns.

Simply put – replacing the injured Breece Hall is going to be a hard task for the New York Jets. That being said, let’s take a look at how General Manager Joe Douglas might go about this…

New York Jets Options to Replace Breece Hall

High-Price Trade Candidates

Running Back Kareem Hunt

Cleveland Browns Kareem Hunt is the biggest name on this list. The 27-year-old veteran back has been with the team since 2019, forming arguably the league’s most talented running back duo with Nick Chubb. Capable of both rushing and receiving the football, Hunt is a number one back who has been in a complementary role. At the same time, the former rookie Pro Bowl rusher would not be cheap.

Hunt is not a small part of the Browns offense. This is a rusher who adds 50 yards from scrimmage per game this season while taking up 48% of offensive snaps. The Browns may not have a great record early, sitting at 2-5, but Hunt is one of the team’s biggest trade chips should they deal those on expiring contracts. Secondly, would Joe Douglas even be willing to part with the necessary picks? Cleveland won’t trade Hunt for any random return, leaving this to whether or not Douglas wants to trade his prized future selections.

Running Back James Robinson

Moving to another underperforming team in 2022, the Jacksonville Jaguars are another team with a spare stud running back. James Robinson, a former undrafted free agent out of Jacksonville State in 2020 is among the more underrated backs in the league. In 35 career games (32 starts), Robinson has accumulated over 2,000 yards rushing and 28 touchdowns to go with over 600 yards receiving. In other words – Robinson provides that do-it-all caliber back that the Jets just lost in Breece Hall.

The big question here is where does James Robinson stand currently in Jacksonville? In Week 7, Robinson went without a rush attempt, only playing 12 offensive snaps as Travis Etienne Jr. broke out. With Etienne as the clear long-term starter, the Jaguars may look to recoup draft picks by trading Robinson, who is a restricted free agent following 2022. For Douglas, it again comes down to how much he is willing to trade for a running back.

Low Cost, High Ceiling Trade Candidates

Running Back Cam Akers

For the Los Angeles Rams, this trade makes sense. Cam Akers wants a fresh start, and the team is already searching for a suitor, and the Jets just became one. After a promising rookie year, Akers has played just six games and has averaged fewer than three yards per carry since 2021. With the Jets, the 23-year-old former second-round pick would give New York the size that Hall offered and would be cheaper than the two aforementioned running backs.

Running Back D’Ernest Johnson

Should the Browns choose not to trade Kareem Hunt, it could be D’Ernest Johnson who is on his way out. The fourth year back out of South Florida is currently buried on the depth chart beneath Chubb and Hunt, having seen only 86 snaps in 2022, with all but 10 coming on special teams. Last year, Johnson stepped up when the injury bug hit Cleveland, averaging 5.3 yards per carry, and rushing for over 500 yards on 100 attempts. Set to be a free agent after this season, Johnson would be a great buy-low option for Gang Green.

Current Roster Options

Running Back Michael Carter

Without a doubt, Michael Carter is the Jets top option to be the team’s lead back moving forward. Selected in the fourth round in the 2021 NFL Draft, Carter was one of the few bright spots for the Jets a year ago. As a rookie, Carter became Offensive Coordinator Mike LaFleur’s lead committee back and found success in the role. Although he might not bring the size and power that Hall had, Carter’s shiftiness and familiarity in the scheme make him the most valuable member of the Jets backfield from here on out.

Running Back Ty Johnson and Zonovan Knight

Should Michael Carter take the reigns of the backfield, it will be interesting to see whether it is Ty Johnson or Zonovan Knight who emerge as the number two. Johnson, who enters his third season wearing Gotham Green, took the field Sunday once Hall had gotten hurt. In 34 career games with the Jets, Johnson has 495 yards rushing on 116 carries, winning with speed instead of strength. The Jets know what they are getting with Johnson, therefore leading to the temptation of giving Knight a shot.

Zonovan Knight is an undrafted free agent who flashed his potential during training camp and the preseason. He stuck to the roster, offering size at 5’11” and 210-pounds and elusiveness. The North Carolina State product also would offer the team special team ability, both as a returner and defender. With Hall out, barring a move, expect to see Knight to get some snaps over the coming months.

There is No Replacing Breece Hall

No matter what Joe Douglas and the Jets do to try and replace Breece Hall, there is no way to replicate what he meant to the offense. The home-run threat anytime he gets the ball, Hall took the pressure off of quarterback Zach Wilson. The second-year passer has not needed to win the game with his arm because of the Jets run-game dominance. But now without the Iowa State product, can the Jets produce enough out of their backfield to continue their winning ways?

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images


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