The Seahawks are the kings of bringing in guys nobody else wants. Usually, that means finding diamonds in the rough among late-round draft picks and undrafted free agents. Guys with chips on their shoulders from being passed over time and time and time again. It fosters an environment where everyone is hungry. Hungry to prove the doubters wrong, while at the same time hungry to prove to the organization that believed in them that they’re worth the trouble. It’s worked well so far, with the Seahawks enjoying a run of success unprecedented in franchise history.
Yet, this offseason, in the early goings of free agency, the Seahawks appear to be targeting other teams’ cast-offs that they no longer want. On the one hand, it’s a good way to avoid a bidding war and the rising costs of an increasingly-absurd free agency landscape; but on the other hand, the players you sign are usually terrible.
First it was kicker Blair Walsh, and we all shrugged our shoulders because we figured they’d bring in a rookie to compete with him. Then, it was offensive lineman Luke Joeckel, and we all held our breath in the hopes that T.J. Lang would be right behind him. With Lang having since signed with Detroit, and with the knowledge that at least $7 million of Joeckel’s 1-year deal is fully guaranteed, that move is looking less and less tolerable.
As we continue this parade of scraping the bottom of the barrel, here comes Eddie Lacy on a 1-year deal. At least this one is only for $5.5 million, with only $3 million (or thereabouts) guaranteed. But, again, we’re talking about a guy who has been a recent disappointment. It might be unfair to call him an outright bust like we can with Joeckel, considering Lacy does have two 1,000-yard seasons under his belt, with a career 4.4 yard per carry average. But, you’re talking about a guy best known for his issues with weight.
At this point, I’d almost rather the Seahawks just stop dipping their toes into the free agency waters altogether, because all we’re getting in return is consternation.
Like Joeckel, Lacy is coming off of season-ending surgery (in late October/early November). Unlike Joeckel, Lacy’s injury was to his ankle, and I have much more confidence in his ability to return to the football field in 2017. The question for now is: when can Lacy return to exercising and getting back into football shape? Not for nothing, but my confidence in him to not gain a hundred pounds while laid up with a bum wheel is pretty low.
Of course, I’m breaking the cardinal rule of Seahawks talent evaluators: focus on what they can do, not what they can’t. So, let’s try to look on the bright side a little bit.
Lacy’s first two years in the league were very good. He had over 1,100 yards both years and a combined 20 rushing touchdowns. He also caught over 30 balls in each of those seasons, to go with another 4 total receiving touchdowns. And, let’s not gloss over this: that’s on a Green Bay team that’s not necessarily a “run first” organization. They tend to run the ball more later in the season, when it gets colder out, but by and large the Packers – with Aaron Rodgers leading the way – throw the ball to set up the run and not the other way around.
So, the question is: how does THAT player look on this Seahawks team? I think he looks pretty good. He’s a complete back, you have to give him that. He’s not as talented or dynamic as Marshawn Lynch, but that’s a once in a generation type player. Lacy is, however, an every-down back. The best part of that is, of course, he won’t be asked to do that with the Seahawks. Even with Beastmode doing his thing, you’d often see the Seahawks put Turbin on the field on third downs. I would expect as long as he’s healthy to see Prosise getting the lion’s share of those third down carries. Just as I would expect to see Rawls get some series here and there. What we’re likely looking at is more of a time-share, where the hot hand gets the most play. The difference this year is, with Lacy in the fold, the Seahawks have greater depth for when injuries inevitably strike.
Now, obviously, you can’t just take the good and discount the bad. Lacy’s third season, in 2015, was about as awful as you can get. He was overweight, he had nagging injuries he had to deal with all year, and the coaches lost confidence in him at times. He had a few good performances that year, but for the most part he was dead weight, and the team issued an ultimatum for the following season.
To his credit, Lacy came into 2016 in much better shape. That was reflected in his on-field performance. In five games, he averaged 5.1 yards per carry. Now, in none of those games did he rack up 20 carries or more, so maybe we’re talking about a Less Is More situation? I dunno.
All in all, this 2017 free agency class looks pretty shitty, and if there was ever a year where I’d be PERFECTLY fine with the Seahawks sitting it out entirely, it’d be this year. With the increase in the salary cap, and the outrageous amounts of money most other teams have to throw around, the Seahawks just don’t have enough money to compete for the best guys and are reduced to taking flyers on disappointments, guys coming off of injury, or both. Now, obviously, these guys we’re bringing in aren’t crippling the organization. They’re all 1-year deals that aren’t really breaking the bank. But, I’m at a point where I’d rather have the money rolled over into our salary cap next year.