Before Tuesday, any mention of Seattle being a potential landing spot for running back Adrian Peterson seemed more like the typical baseless free-agency speculation than a likelihood. It now seems like, at the very least, an actual possibility with word from Peterson’s father that there’s mutual interest between the soon-to-be free agent and the Seahawks.
Nelson Peterson told Chris Tomasson of the Twin Cities Pioneer Press that Seattle and Oakland are the two most likely destinations for his son and that each team has expressed interest.
Peterson will become an unrestricted free agent on Thursday after the Vikings declined to pick up his 2017 option. Tuesday was the beginning of the two-day window before the start of free agency in which teams can legally speak with with the agents of impending UFAs (though it happens before then).
Peterson’s father, Nelson Peterson, said he both the Seahawks and the Raiders have expressed interest in his client. He declined comment when asked if the teams have contacted his agent.
Nelson Peterson said his son is very interested in the Seahawks because they are a Super Bowl contender and because their offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, held that position with the Vikings in Peterson’s first four NFL seasons.
“You look at the connections in Seattle, so there’s definitely interest there,’’ Nelson said in a phone interview. “Those are some pretty good years (Peterson had under Bevell).’’
Peterson had rushing seasons of 1,341, 1760, 1,383 and 1,298 yards from 2007-10 under Bevell.
“Marshawn Lynch is not there, and (the Seahawks are) looking for that power back, so they’re definitely in the running,’’ Nelson Peterson said of the Seattle running back who retired following the 2015 season.
A few thoughts:
How interested is Seattle? Nelson Peterson’s comments make it clear how interested his son is in Seattle. It’s not clear how interested the Seahawks are in Peterson. Remember, this is what they do. General manager John Schneider talks often about how he wants to, at the very least, take a look at every possible move in free agency or the trade market. For instance, a report last offseason linked Seattle to another running back, DeMarco Murray, who was traded from Philadelphia to Tennessee. “When we talk about being aggressive and being in every deal, it’s basically knowing what the Joneses are doing out there and being able to stay in deals,” Schneider said at one point. “That’s kind of how we got guys like Ahtyba Rubin here, Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett. That’s how we acquired those guys a little bit later on, just by being aggressive in terms of staying in deals. Now, we walk away from, shoot, I would say like 70 percent of them, maybe 80 percent.” So, Seattle having expressed interest in Peterson, according to his father, only means so much on its own. It could mean as little as the Seahawks having kicked the tires on Peterson like they would with anyone else.
Seahawks’ backfield. How much of a need Peterson would fill in Seattle’s backfield is a matter of perspective. On one hand, Seattle already has three young, talented running backs in Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise and Alex Collins, who are all playing on cost-controlled rookie contracts. On the other hand, that trio was anything but consistent in 2016. Prosise played in only six games and missed time with four different injuries, including a broken shoulder blade that ended his season in November. Rawls missed almost half the season with a broken leg after his rookie season ended early because of a broken ankle. Collins was a non-factor until coming on in the second half. It would be entirely understandable if the Seahawks wanted to bolster that position by adding an established veteran with a more consistent track record of production. Peterson, who turns 32 later this month, missed all but three games last season with a knee injury. Before that, he was a model of consistency, topping 1,200 yards rushing in seven of his previous nine seasons (he missed all but one game in 2014 because of a suspension). But four tailbacks is probably one more than the Seahawks would keep, so adding Peterson could mean giving up on Collins, which wouldn’t be easy.
Peterson’s situation/price tag. He was scheduled to make $18 million in 2017, an astronomical amount that he probably won’t come close to matching in free agency, even with what figures to be plenty of interest. What the Seahawks would be willing to pay him and what he’d be willing to play for are obviously two significant questions. A one-year deal for around $3 million or $4 million would seem entirely reasonable from Seattle’s end, but that could require Peterson to turn down more money elsewhere. It would presumably also mean Peterson being willing to split carries to some degree with Rawls and Prosise. If he’s as interested in the Seahawks as his father indicated, perhaps he would be. Something to keep in mind there is that Peterson has made almost $95 million in salary alone over his 10 NFL seasons, according to Spotrac.com.