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NY Jets: Is Braelon Allen the Breece Hall contingency plan?

Braelon Allen, NY Jets, Breece Hall, NFL Draft
Braelon Allen, Breece Hall, New York Jets, Getty Images, Jet X Graphic

Could the New York Jets have drafted Braelon Allen to eventually replace Breece Hall?

There’s little question that New York Jets running back Breece Hall is an elite playmaker. To many, it felt like the Jets got the steal of the 2022 NFL draft when he was taken 36th overall by New York. Still, there is always a possibility that the team could move on from Hall after his rookie contract expires. If that’s the case, could rookie running back Braelon Allen develop into Hall’s future replacement as the RB1?

It’s hard to ignore Hall’s all-around talent as a running back. In his rookie season, he totaled 681 scrimmage yards with five touchdowns in less than seven complete games. When he tore his ACL in Week 7 against the Denver Broncos, Jets fans assumed the worst. There was little reason to believe Hall would be available in Week 1, let alone return to form in 2023. Yet, Hall played every game in his second season while amassing 1,585 scrimmage yards and nine touchdowns. Hall joined an elite tier of running backs who successfully returned the following season after tearing their ACL without seeing significant performance reduction.

So why would the Jets even think about moving on from him?

Too much for a running back?

With a player as talented as Hall, he’s going to command serious money on the open market. The closest comparison we currently have would be Jonathan Taylor’s extension with the Indianapolis Colts last season. Taylor’s extension was a three-year, $42 million contract with $26.5 million guaranteed.

Luckily for the Colts, the way their roster is currently constructed allowed the team to give a lucrative extension to their running back. They have a first-round quarterback with multiple years left on his rookie contract and a young core of playmakers at wide receiver. However, for the Jets, it may be a different story.

Right now, it’s impossible to tell what the future will hold for the Jets, but it’s interesting to look into the potential outcomes.

It seems unlikely that quarterback Aaron Rodgers will still be playing by the end of Hall’s rookie contract. If that were the case, the Jets would be put in an interesting situation.

Would they draft a quarterback and give Hall a contract extension? Or, would the team look for a veteran quarterback to bridge the gap until a franchise quarterback arrives? A lot of that will depend on the makeup of the roster – and whether or not Joe Douglas is still running the ship for the Jets.

Can Braelon Allen hold the reins?

The second piece to the Breece Hall puzzle revolves around 2024 fourth-round pick Braelon Allen. Allen was a consensus Day 2 pick in the months leading up to the draft who fell into Day 3 due to teams “wanting to see more physicality,” per SNY’s Connor Hughes. He’ll also be entering the NFL as the youngest player in the league.

Given his current skillset, we already have an idea of where Allen could be deployed in his rookie season. But what if Allen proves to be far more productive than expected?

In reality, Allen is still learning the position himself, originally being recruited to play linebacker at Wisconsin. Yet, in his short career, he’s already shown potential to be a workhorse at the next level.

Allen is a big-bodied back who does well in pass protection and is underrated as a receiver. Despite his big frame, he has the speed to break away big runs and is an excellent one-cut runner.

While some look at Allen’s fourth-round draft capital as a slight toward his overall value, it should be remembered that the position has been devalued across the NFL. There’s little reason why Hall should have been a second-round pick in 2022. We saw the NFL overcorrect in the 2023 NFL draft, but overall, more teams are heading towards two-man committee approaches. The Jets seem to be headed into a tandem approach as well, and that should allow them to assess for the future.

Should the NY Jets extend Breece Hall?

Personally, I think there seems to be little reason for the Jets not to extend Hall. While he can improve in short-yardage situations, he’s truly an elite player. Running backs who carry his vision in the hole are hard to come by. Even Allen supporters (like myself) would prefer to see a one-two combo involving both players than letting a player with the talent of Hall walk.

However, the NFL is a business, and we’ve seen stranger things happen in recent history.

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Robert Sabo
Robert Sabo
19 days ago

Allen and Davis combined.

Robert Sabo
Robert Sabo
19 days ago