The biggest priority for the Seahawks is re-signing Jadeveon Clowney, but the team still has other areas on their roster that need improvement. Running backs have found a challenging free-agent market, creating a lot of value for teams. Former Falcons’ running back Devonta Freeman remains on the market and can likely be signed at a bargain price.
The Seahawks top two running backs, Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, are both returning from season-ending injuries. Carson is believed to be farther along in his rehab, and there are strong indications that Penny could start the season on the PUP list. Freeman would give the Seahawks some much-needed depth at the position and is a versatile back also capable of catching passes out of the backfield.
Freeman averaged just 3.6 yards per carry last season with the Falcons, but Atlanta’s offensive line struggled throughout the season. Freeman finished with 656 rushing yards and two touchdowns and also had a major impact in the passing game with 59 receptions for 410 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games for the Falcons. Atlanta opted to release Freeman to avoid his sizable cap hit, but the Seahawks can sign the running back to a more team-friendly deal.
The Seahawks Need to Add Depth at Running Back
Whether the Seahawks sign Freeman or not, the team must address the running back position. The Seahawks hope both Carson and Penny will be back at full strength but not enough to leave the offseason without adding another back.
The Seahawks could look to address the position in the draft as indicated by interviewing a number of prospects including Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, Boston College’s A.J. Dillon and Utah’s Zack Moss, per Sports Illustrated’s Corbin Smith. Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll admitted the team likely needed to bolster the position during the offseason.
“We have to make sure that we have enough depth,” Carroll told Sports Illustrated. “Chris should be absolutely fine. We won’t overdue it with him, he’s had two great back-to-back seasons. We’re going to take care of him throughout all the way to game time when it comes up, so that means we’ve got some spots available for guys to compete for, so we’ll see how that goes.”
Top Free-Agent Running Back Melvin Gordon Signed a Less Lucrative Contract Than He Expected
Nothing shows the waining running back market more than the contract that Melvin Gordon signed with the Broncos. Gordon signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Broncos after turning down a contract with the Chargers reportedly worth $10 million annually prior to holding out. Gordon’s newest contract gives him a base salary of $1 million this season along with a $2 million signing bonus and $4 million roster bonus, per Spotrac.
The Seahawks could opt to draft a running back, but Freeman offers a nice veteran bargain. Freeman is 28 years old but still likely has a few more seasons of impact left. The Seahawks are trying to avoid being in a situation again where they have to sign running backs just before the playoffs.