The Seahawks proved more serious than maybe anyone imagined they were about wanting to add some veteran depth at tailback. It had been revealed that Seattle will get visits from Jamaal Charles of Kansas City, Latavius Murray of Oakland and Eddie Lacy of Green Bay.
On the first day of free agency, the Seahawks proved more serious than maybe anyone imagined they were about wanting to add some veteran depth at tailback.
By the time Thursday ended it had been revealed that Seattle will get visits from three big-name free agent running backs over the next few days — Jamaal Charles of Kansas City, Latavius Murray of Oakland and Eddie Lacy of Green Bay.
Both Charles and Lacy come with some injury questions that resulted in them coming available, while Murray had something of a down year in 2016 compared to his breakout season in 2015, which helped lead to the Raiders allowing him to test the market.
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Charles, who was released in February, suffered a second ACL injury in 2015 but is considered healthy now. But he also turns 30 in December and has played just eight games the past two seasons, one reason he will take visits. Teams can give physicals during visits so the Seahawks would be able to get their own look at Charles’ knee then. That he is set to take a visit, and likely has others, means a signing almost certainly won’t be occurring immediately. Pro Football Talk reported that the visit is set for next week.
Charles played at Texas with Seattle safety Earl Thomas and the two have the same agent, David Mulugheta. Charles was also in Thomas’ wedding party last year.
Before the 2015 injury, Charles had rushed for more than 1,000 yards in five of the previous six seasons, including 1,033 in 2014 when he had 159 against Seattle in a 24-20 Chiefs win on Nov. 16. He hasn’t had more yards in a game since then and has 404 yards on 83 carries overall in eight games in the 2015 and 2016 seasons. He had 40 yards on 12 carries in three games in 2016 when he continued to battle knee issues.
Charles has also been a standout receiver with the Chiefs, with a career-high 70 in 2013, and could help fill — or at least complement — the third-down back role for the Seahawks, as well.
Murray played the last three seasons with Oakland but the Raiders decided to let him enter free agency after a season in which he rushed for 788 yards on 195 carries, 4.0 yards per attempt after gaining 1,066 yards in 2015. He has 2,278 yards on 543 carries in his career and had a career-high 12 touchdowns last season.
Lacy’s agency, meanwhile, Tweeted out that he will visit the Seahawks, Vikings and Packers over the next four days.
Lacy played just five games in 2016 before suffering a season-ending ankle injury that required surgery to insert two screws, two wires and a plate into the ankle. The Seahawks will obviously want to check out Lacy’s health before signing any deal.
Lacy, who will turn 27 on June 2, was the 61st overall pick of the 2013 draft, taken a spot before Seattle selected Christine Michael. He rushed for 1,178 and 1,139 yards his first two seasons in the NFL before weight and injury issues slowed him the last two seasons. He was on his way to a bounce back year in 2016 with 360 yards on 71 carries, an average of 5.1 per attempt, before being sidelined.
The news of the visits of Lacy, Murray and Charles came on the heels of the revelation Tuesday from the father of longtime Minnesota standout Adrian Peterson, Nelson Peterson, that Peterson would be interested in coming to Seattle. Nelson Peterson told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that Adrian Peterson considered Seattle as a favorite for his services along with Oakland and possibly the Patriots and the Vikings.
However, Peterson turns 32 on March 21 and is coming off an injury-filled season in which he played just three games, which is why one of the biggest names in the game was largely an after-thought on the first day of free agency.
And it’s thought that Seattle’s interest in Peterson is more in seeing if he is still available later in the process and at a cut-rate price, and only if the team hasn’t signed one of Lacy, Charles or Murray — Seattle would seem unlikely to bring in more than one of the free agents set to visit.
All of the news reinforces that Seattle is interested in a veteran running back to add competition, and maybe some insurance, to the duo of Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise, who each suffered through injury-shortened 2016 seasons.
Asked about the role Prosise had carved out with the Seahawks at the Combine last week, Seattle coach Carroll referred immediately to his inability last season to stay on the field, playing in just six games due to several different injuries.
“He’s carved out a very small one so far because he hasn’t played very much,’’ Carroll said. “But C.J we feel like we really found the kind of guy we were hoping to find. ..We have no hesitation at all in what we can do with him. We’ve just got to get him available.’’
Rawls likewise battled injuries, first recovering from a broken ankle suffered at the end of the 2015 season and then suffering a hairline fracture and never really regained his rookie form, held to 349 yards on 109 carries, an average of 3.2 per attempt.
Seattle also still has in the fold 2016 pre-season fan favorite Troymaine Pope. Pope suffered an ankle injury after returning to Seattle last season but was tendered as an exclusive rights free agent and will remain on the roster.