Update: The Seahawks will reportedly host running back Adrian Peterson Sunday on a free-agent visit, according to ESPN. Peterson played in three games for the Vikings last season because of a torn meniscus and turns 32 later this month. One of Peterson’s connections with the Seahawks is Seattle’s offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who coached Peterson in Minnesota from 2007 to 2010.
Original Story: The Seahawk are evidently intent on adding a veteran to their young backfield. Seattle reportedly has free-agent visits scheduled with Jamaal Charles (per the NFL Network), Latavius Murray (per ESPN) and Eddie Lacy (per his agency), three of the biggest available names on the running-back market.
Charles is the most accomplished of the group, a three-time Pro Bowler with Kansas City who’s topped 1,000 yards rushing in five of his nine seasons and has the highest yards-per-carry average (5.5) of any running back in the NFL’s modern era. And he’s been one of the league’s better pass-catching running backs. But he’s 30 years old and has missed 24 games over the last two years, including all but three in 2016 because of the second major knee injury of his career. For those reasons, Charles could come cheap.
Murray, 27, has spent all four of his NFL seasons with the Raiders. He topped 1,000 yards in 2015 and ran for 788 with 12 touchdowns while splitting carries and playing behind one of the league’s better offensive lines last season. He’s also capable of being a factor in the passing game with 91 catches over the last three seasons (he missed his rookie year because of an injury).
Lacy, 26, is a power back in the Marshawn Lynch mold, only considerably bigger. His weight was a well-documented issue at times during his four seasons in Green Bay, including last year when he trimmed down over the offseason only to reportedly gain back much of what he had lost. He’s coming off a foot injury that limited him to only five games last year, which continued a downward trend in his production after starting his career with two 1,000-yard seasons.
The Seahawks have been linked to another big-name running back, former Viking Adrian Peterson. But there’s been no report of any visit scheduled, which could be a sign that Seattle was merely doing its due diligence on Peterson in the event that he’s still available much later in free agency.
What’s perfectly clear from the Seattle’s reported interest in Charles, Murray and Lacy (and perhaps Peterson) is that the Seahawks aren’t content with their young trio of running backs, understandably so given how Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise have struggled to stay healthy. Rawls missed the end of what had been a stellar rookie season in 2015 because of a broken ankle and then missed half of last season with a cracked fibula. Prosise flashed brilliance as a rookie last year but dealt with four different injuries, including a broken scapula that ended his season in November. He played in only six games.
Alex Collins has what neither Rawls nor Prosise have, a consistent track record of production dating back to college. He was a non-factor for the first half of his rookie season but gave Seattle some production late, after injuries decimated the Seahawks’ backfield and moved him up the depth chart.
It would be hard to imagine the Seahawks signing a free-agent running back with the promise that he’ll be their starter, not with Rawls having shown he’s capable of handling that role when healthy. And because of that, it’s hard to imagine Seattle paying a free-agent running back more than $4 million a season.
This year’s draft is considered especially deep at running back, which means the Seahawks could find whatever type of help they’re looking for there if none of the available veterans meet their price range.