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The Jets made a splash in the offseason and will now build their running game around Le'Veon Bell, but he's not the only talented running back on the roster ...
Projected Starters: Le'Veon Bell
Projected Backups: Ty Montgomery, Bilal Powell
On the Bubble: Elijah McGuire, Trenton Cannon, De'Angelo Henderson, Valentine Holmes
Departures: Isaiah Crowell
There's no question who the starter will be in 2019 because Le'Veon Bell is the league's highest paid running back and the kind of game-breaking talent that could transform the offense's fortunes. However, there is plenty of intrigue around who will make the final roster and earn some touches inbackup roles.
Last year's backups - former late round picks Elijah McGuire and Trenton Cannon - are still with the team, but they have more competition this year. Each of them showed some flashes last year, but once their workload increased due to Isaiah Crowell's injury, the running game floundered and they averaged just three yards per carry between them in the second half.
Having initially let him walk, the Jets opted to bring back Bilal Powell, who was also injured last year. They also brought in a veteran in Ty Montgomery, who entered the league as a wide receiver but saw some success with the Packers after switching positions. Montgomery was traded away by the Packers in the middle of last season but failed to find a home in Baltimore.
The longshots this year are De'Angelo Henderson and Valentine Holmes. Henderson, another former late-rounder, saw brief action with the Jets at the end of last season, although he lost a fumble. Holmes, the former Australian rugby league international, will remain with the Jets all year as they are obligated to at least retain him on the practice squad under the terms of the International Player Pathway Program
Biggest question heading into camp
The Jets will hope Bell shows no signs of rust having sat out the 2018 season and that the offensive line will adapt well to his patient running style. However, the biggest question surrounding this year's running back group is who will back him up.
The Jets might be hoping that McGuire or Cannon can step up and establish themselves as contributors that can remain with the team for a few more seasons. Montgomery and Powell are each on low-cost one-year deals.
In the event Bell should miss time, the Jets will probably revert to a running back by committee approach, as none of those four are ideally equipped to handle a workhorse role.
One thing they all have is pass-catching ability and Adam Gase is expected to involve his backs heavily in the passing game. Each of them has abilities that go beyond just catching dump-off passes, which will enable Gase to employ two backs in certain personnel groupings, with the option to employ one in the slot, out wide or in a split-back formatiom.
How much of an upgrade Bell can provide to the running game will depend heavily on the offensive line, but his contributions to the passing game should be significant no matter what. Bell's ability to stay in and block, make big plays from dump-off passes and run routes like a wide receiver should all help Sam Darnold to keep the chains moving.
Behind Bell, there are many worthy candidates for a role, which may afford the Jets the luxury of keeping Bell somewhat fresh into the home stretch. Montgomery and Powell's experience probably gives them the edge in the race for backup roles.
General managers are often keen to find a place on their roster for their former draft picks but with Joe Douglas now in that role, the former Mike Maccagan picks no longer have that advantage. That doesn't bode well for the likes of Cannon and McGuire, although either one could make a case for themselves with a strong preseason.
Special teams could also be a factor in who to retain. If nobody steps up and earns the return specialist role, the Jets could opt to use Montgomery as their kickoff returner, virtually guaranteeing himself a role on offense as well. In addition, Cannon played a key role last season as a primary punt gunner, so that potentially could break the tie between him and another back for the final roster spot.
Holmes is also someone who could excel on special teams, as his experience in rugby league could mean that he's comfortable handling and returning punts. While he seems unlikely to be ready to contribute this season, he could be a longer-term developmental project that they could look to bring back in 2020