Jamaal Charles is due in for visit Wednesday. But the Seahawks are likely done adding to the tailback spot, for now.
While the Seahawks signed veteran running back Eddie Lacy Tuesday, the team will still get a visit from longtime Kansas City standout Jamaal Charles, who was expected in Wednesday with the visit taking place Thursday.
But that doesn’t mean the team is necessarily looking to add yet another running back.
Instead, the visit with Charles had already been planned and the visit is likely designed mostly to meet with Charles and gather information in case a need arises down the road (his agent also represents Earl Thomas).
But for now, the Seattle tailback situation appears pretty well set heading into the draft with Lacy, Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise, Alex Collins and Troymaine Pope at the top of the list of those in the mix.
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Seattle, in fact, is suddenly loaded, in terms of bodies, at the running back spot — J.D. McKissic, Terrence Magee, George Farmer, Tre Madden and Kelvin Taylor also all remain on the roster, giving the Seahawks 10 tailbacks overall (Madden was used at both tailback and fullback last year).
By contrast, the Seahawks had seven tailbacks heading into camp last season. Every player listed above but Lacy was on Seattle’s roster in some capacity last season and of the 10 listed above, all but Lacy, Madden and Taylor had at least one carry for the Seahawks in 2016.
Magee, recall, was sort of symbolic of the merry-go-round that was Seattle’s tailback position last year — and which the team hopes to avoid this season.
He got three carries in a September game against the 49ers after Rawls and Prosise had gotten hurt, then was released when Seattle signed C.J. Spiller. He was signed back off of Cleveland’s practice squad in December after injuries again hit the position and was the No. 4 tailback through the playoffs. His presence on the roster was one of the factors that led to the roster crunch that led to the decision to release safety Tyvis Powell when the Seahawks signed Devin Hester.
The larger point there is that the Seahawks had a seemingly constant churn at the tailback spot last season in what was their first year without Marshawn Lynch and with injuries hitting basically everybody at some point.
That had Seattle ultimately using 18 different ball carriers last season, the most in the NFL since the strike year of 1987.
The Seahawks don’t want to run into similar depth issues this season, one reason for the desire to add a proven veteran. And with so many running backs on the roster who have been in the system for a year or so now, finding someone who could get quickly up to speed if needed should also be easier this year.
Seattle could also look to add a tailback in a draft generally considered to be pretty good at that position. But the addition of Lacy obviously means the need isn’t as great.
Still, the long-term future of Seattle’s tailback spot seems far from settled.
Lacy is working on a one-year deal and Rawls will be a restricted free agent after next season. That he’ll be restricted means Seattle can pretty easily keep him around.
But Seattle will have some decisions to make this time a year from now.
Carroll said the team would like to sign Lacy, who turns 27 in June, to a long-term deal. But that is obviously contingent on how Lacy performs in 2017. Rawls was viewed as the back of the future for Seattle a year ago, with many assuming he might have already been in line for an extension after the 2016 season. But that designation is obviously in flux now.
Prosise has the standard four-year rookie contract, so his immediate future is not in question. His role may be streamlined a bit now, though. With Lacy and Rawls likely to battle it out for early-down carries, Prosise may be ticketed for a more specific role as a third-down back. That was also assumed to be his primary job when he was taken in the third round last year.
But he enticed the team with his three-down ability last year and then proved he could do it against New England. Prosise, though, also has durability questions and now that the team has more depth with Lacy and Rawls, he can maybe be used more judiciously and save some wear and tear while maximizing his strengths.
Collins and Pope also did enough last season — Collins late in the year, Pope in the pre-season and then in practice when his performances helped lead to the decision to release Christine Michael — to think they can contend for a roster spot, as well.
Seattle has typically kept no more than four tailbacks on its 53-man roster along with a fullback, so there could be some tough decisions as the season nears.
But after a 2016 season when the Seahawks were often scrambling for bodies, that’s precisely the point.