JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton on five possible Seahawks moves: No sense in spending big on Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles

Feb 24, 2017, 6:05 AM | Updated: 5:12 pm
Adrian Peterson turns 32 in March and is likely to be released if he doesn't take a pay-cut with th...
Adrian Peterson turns 32 in March and is likely to be released if he doesn't take a pay-cut with the Vikings, who will owe him $18 million in 2017. ESPN's Bill Barnwell thinks Seattle should consider him if the price is right. (AP)
(AP)
LISTEN: ESPN's Bill Barnwell on five possible Seahawks moves

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell, who was nice enough to join us on Friday’s show, recently proposed five things the Seahawks should do this offseason.

His first four were perfect, and I was with him.

He wanted a re-evaluation of left tackle, left guard, right guard, right tackle, etc. Yes, Seattle’s offensive line needs to be reviewed and self-scouted. It doesn’t need to be blown up, but adding a veteran tackle would help.

I agreed with my ESPN teammate that the Seahawks should leave Jimmy Graham’s contract alone. Why get rid of one of the best tight ends in football?

Barnwell said the Seahawks need to add depth at defensive tackle. Check and double check. Earl Mitchell, recently released by Miami, would be a good addition. They also need to find a good inside pass-rusher.

His fourth suggestion was drafting a strong-side linebacker. Also agree. That linebacker might not be Bruce Irvin, but getting a draft choice who can play four years as a starter on his rookie contract would be an upgrade.

The only one I disagreed with was his idea to target Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles if their markets crash. Timing is everything in this proposed move. There is no way the Seahawks should look at a 30-year-old-plus starting halfback before OTAs and minicamp.

The Seahawks drafted three backs last year and have good expectations for C.J. Prosise and Alex Collins. Thomas Rawls is powerful and only entering his third year. It’s not out of the question for a big, bruising running back to fall to Seattle in the draft.

What the Seahawks don’t need to do is get too old at that position. Their offense works at its best with a big, physical runner. Peterson and Charles in their prime would be great options, but they are nearing the ends of their careers. Durability is vital, and there is no guarantee Peterson or Charles can be an every-down back each week. Peterson turns 32 next month and has missed 28 games over the past three seasons. Charles, 30, missed 24 over the past two seasons.

Sure, Rawls and Prosise have yet to prove they can be durable enough to survive a 16-game season plus the playoffs. The odds of Peterson and Charles doing that aren’t great, and if that’s the case, targeting them early in free agency wouldn’t be a good idea.

It is a different story, though, if they remain unsigned close to the start of training camp. You figure both Peterson and Charles still have a nice contract coming. The Seahawks would not be wise to invest $4 million to $5 million in a 30-year-old back not knowing if he can handle 280 carries over a season.

Clayton: Seahawks should get 2 comp picks, have 7 choices total in 2017

Doing that would mean letting go of one of the young backs in the final cut. But if Peterson or Charles are unsigned in July, their price tag might drop to $2 million and that might be a consideration for Seattle. Either one could come to camp and compete. The team can make a decision about whether a vet can get the running game close to what it was with Marshawn Lynch.

There is no question the Seahawks’ top three running backs have talent. They need to show durability in order to help get Seattle’s offense right. They need better blocking. I’m not opposed to the Seahawks bringing back fullback Marcel Reese, who did great in his limited role as a late-season pickup in 2016. He’s 32 but he’s only playing a bit part in the offense.

Keeping your eyes open for running back options isn’t a bad idea. Targeting an older one early might be self-defeating.

Want more John Clayton? Listen on-demand to his weekday and Saturday shows as well as his “Cold Hard Facts” and “Clayton’s Morning Drive” segments on 710 ESPN Seattle. Also, check out his all-new “Schooled” podcast and look for his columns twice a week on 710Sports.com.

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