Chris Carson shows why Seahawks need to keep him long term

Oct 5, 2020, 12:13 PM
Seahawks Chris Carson...
Chris Carson averaged 5 yards per carry a week after suffering a knee sprain. (Getty)

If Chris Carson had missed the Seahawks’ Week 4 game in Miami, it wouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. After all, he left the previous week’s game after an opposing defender appeared to intentionally twist his leg after the whistle blew on a play, resulting in a knee sprain.

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Well, not only did Carson play Sunday, but he had his best performance in the running game so far this season. He rushed for two touchdowns and 80 yards on 16 attempts (5 yards per carry), plus he added 20 yards receiving on three catches.

“He really played well and he’s just our style,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Pete Carroll Show. “We love to see him make his plays, make his runs and he’s just got a way about him that we all really like. And he’s just so darn tough and he showed it.”

The question is, though, whether the Seahawks will show Carson their appreciation in the form of a contract extension. The 2017 seventh-round pick had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2018 and 2019, but his contract is up after this year.

There is no arguing his value to the team right now.

“The numbers are clear when Carson plays what it means to Russell (Wilson) and that offense versus when Carson doesn’t play,” NFL on FOX broadcaster Brock Huard said.

Case in point is Sunday’s 31-23 win, where Carson’s season-high rushing total was joined by Wilson throwing for a season-high 360 yards even though Seattle’s quarterback had only his third-most completions (24) out of four games in 2020.

“He was a physically imposing runner (against the Dolphins),” 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny O’Neil said of Carson on Monday’s edition of Danny and Gallant. “We talk about the importance of the offensive players outside of Russell – Russell’s clearly the most important guy. Don’t sell Chris Carson short. The way he runs physically is the way Pete Carroll wants a running back to run. … He looked really good in that game.”

Added O’Neil’s co-host, Paul Gallant: “He puts his shoulder into people and he’s also still got a little bit of that wiggle which I think is an underrated element to have when you are a bigger, more of a power running back with such a great stiff arm. … The athleticism that he brings to the table as well as being physical, that is rare.”

So if Carson is so important to the Seahawks’ offense and his running style fits what Carroll wants, what’s the holdup on the contract? Durability, mainly. But even that took a step towards being less of a question on Sunday.

Carson has come back from serious ankle and hip injuries earlier in his career, and he’s also been held out of sgames with soft-tissue injuries. What he showed in his performance a week after suffering a knee sprain, though, may go a long way toward him getting a payday in the offseason – whether that’s from the Seahawks or another team.

“He came back and played this game,” O’Neil said, “and the fact that he is someone in a league where you’re seeing running backs get rewarded – Alvin Kamara, Joe Mixon, Derrick Henry all got free-agent contracts – he’s in the final year of his contract, and it’s something that’s lingering out there. I think Seattle will want to keep Chris Carson long term. I have a question of how that happens.

You can hear the full conversion about Carson on Danny and Gallant in the podcast at this link or in the player below beginning around the 16:10 mark.

Follow Danny O’Neil and Paul Gallant on Twitter.

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Chris Carson shows why Seahawks need to keep him long term