Lacy, 29 in June, was the league’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 and dazzled with his powerful running style in his younger days. Unfortunately, he hasn’t done much as of late. Lacy’s weight issues held him back over his final two years with the Packers and he averaged just 2.6 yards with the Seahawks in 2017.
The Ravens could give Lacy a prime opportunity to reassert himself as a go-to ball carrier. However, it’s not clear if Lacy has his weight in check. If signed by the Ravens or another NFL team, Lacy is likely to have incentives and stipulations built into his deal to encourage keeping the pounds off.
Washington holds $13MM-plus in cap space, so funding won’t be an issue here given the timing of this injury and the host of proven backs on the market. Of the players available, Orleans Darkwa has generated the most interest this offseason. The Giants’ 2017 rushing leader met with the Patriots in April, before undergoing surgery, and since recovering has met with the Bills, Jets and Colts. Each team passed, but Darkwa has just 276 carries on his NFL odometer. And he averaged 4.4 yards per tote despite running behind an injury-ravaged Giants offensive front.
Alfred Morris led the Redskins in rushing for four straight seasons, and he averaged 4.8 yards per handoff last season as the Cowboys’ primary starter during Ezekiel Elliott‘s suspension. The former sixth-round Washington find is 29 and hasn’t generated much interest since his Cowboys contract expired, although he did visit the Jets recently.
Eddie Lacy‘s also fairly young, at 28, but he’s coming off a brutal Seahawks season. After providing per-carry averages north of 4.0 in each of his four Packers seasons, Lacy averaged just 2.6 yards per run for the Seahawks. Branden Oliver has not been as successful on a per-rush basis, holding a career average of 3.4, but he totaled 853 yards from scrimmage as a seven-game starter as a rookie in 2014. Oliver also drew interest from the Bills this summer.
What about the market’s old guard? Adrian Peterson is obviously the first name that comes to mind, and the future Hall of Famer maintains he would like to play a 12th season. Peterson said he’s now healthy and has recovered from the neck injury that ended his 2017 season. While the three-time rushing champion’s best days are behind him, he amassed two 130-plus-yard games with the Cardinals, doing so despite being a midseason acquisition.
Jamaal Charles, 31, made it through last season healthy after extensive knee trouble plagued him in 2015 and 2016, but the Broncos took him out of their rotation. Nevertheless, the two-time All-Pro led Denver backs by averaging 4.3 yards per carry (albeit on just 69 handoffs). DeMarco Murray retired, but he made it clear shortly before that announcement he was interested in playing this season. Could this situation lure the 2014 offensive player of the year out of retirement?
However, the Redskins also have former Broncos backup Kapri Bibbs and third-year UDFA Byron Marshall. Should they bypass the market and go with a cast fronted by Kelley and Perine?
Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts on this situation in the comments section!
Even as June winds down, there are a surprising number of quality running backs still available on the open market. The current free agent crop of backfield options includes some notable names, such as:
When considering only past accomplishments, the names of Peterson, Charles, and Murray obviously stand out. But, unfortunately, father time is cruel to NFL running backs and these players are on the back nines of their careers, to put it mildly. Out of this trio, Murray has the best 2017 to show teams. Even though his job as the Titans’ top rusher was usurped by Derrick Henry, he had 39 catches for 266 yards and occasionally showed the powerful rushing that made him a force to be reckoned with in Dallas. Charles, he of several 1,000-yard seasons, had only 296 rushing yards in total and found himself at the bottom of Denver’s depth chart to close out the season. Peterson, meanwhile, forced his way out of New Orleans due to a lack of playing time and had only two performances of note in his run with the Cardinals.
Lacy signed with the Seahawks last year and hoped to put concerns about his health and conditioning to rest. Unfortunately, those questions persist after he averaged just 2.6 yards per carry in nine games. Lacy was a bulldozer in his early days with the Packers, but his last season of note came in 2015 when he averaged 4.1 yards per carry. Even then, ball security was a problem as he fumbled the ball four times.
Darkwa is back on the NFL radar after doctors cleared him to workout. Darkwa won’t win this poll on name value, but unlike everyone else on this list, he’s coming off of the best season of his career.The 26-year-old (did we mention that he’s also the youngest running back here?) ran for 751 yards off of 171 carries, good for a strong 4.4 yards per carry average. It was an ugly year for the Giants on the whole, but Darkwa excelled on a personal level.
Vereen, another ex-Giant, can’t say the same for his 2017 season. However, his second act with the Giants has been respectable on the whole. Acting as a secondary ball carrier, he has averaged 4.2 yards per carry over the last three seasons. He also showed that he can still be a worthwhile pass catcher out of the backfield with 44 grabs for 253 yards last season, though he averaged a career-low 5.8 yards per catch.
Last but not least is Morris, though you can be forgiven for forgetting about this three-time 1,000-yard rusher. Morris was a force to be reckoned with from 2012-2014, but he has been riding the pine for the Cowboys over the last two years. What you might not realize is that Morris was tremendous in a small sample last year as Ezekiel Elliott‘s early-season backup and later-season fill-in. Morris averaged 4.76 yards per carry off of 115 attempts, which makes one wonder why we haven’t heard his name mentioned in recent months.
Out of the running backs listed here, which player do you feel can contribute the most in 2018? Click below to cast your vote and defend your choice in the comments section.
So far, Fitzgerald has 92 catches for 982 yards and five touchdowns on the season. The receiver, who will celebrate his 35th birthday in August, has accomplished a great deal in the league and would leave the game with few regrets if he decides to call it a career. Still, his performance this year indicates that he still has plenty left in the tank.
Here’s more from the NFC West:
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll admitted that things haven’t really worked out with offseason addition Eddie Lacy “for a number of reasons,” (Twitter link via Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times). However, he says that Lacy and teammate Thomas Rawls are still “battling” to see if either can get time this week. Lacy, who is scheduled for free agency after the conclusion of his one-year deal, has a career-low 2.6 yards per carry average.
Safety Cody Davis has been cleared to practice, meaning that he will be eligible to return off of injured reserve for the Rams in the final week of the regular season (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Alden Gonzalez). Davis is a key reserve for L.A. and his return could allow free safety Lamarcus Joyner to help out at cornerback now that Kayvon Webster has been lost for the season. The Rams round out the regular season with games against the Titans and 49ers. With a two-game lead over the Seahawks, they have virtually locked up the NFC West crown.
“Absolutely,” the Rams coach said when asked if Whitworth was the team’s top target of the offseason. “We had a couple of people targeted, but in terms of somebody who we felt like was extremely important, not just on the field, but the influence they could have on the locker room, especially just some of the younger linemen. He was a guy who that we absolutely had a major priority on and feel fortunate to have gotten him done. He’s exceeded the expectations. We knew he was a great player, and I’ve heard great things about him just from him being in Cincinnati and my relationship with Jay Gruden. Everybody that’s been around him says nothing but the best, and when you get around him you can see why all that stuff is merited and more. He’s been outstanding.”
Recently, Giants GM Jerry Reese indicated that he did not go hard after Whitworth because he wanted to have a “younger football team.” His offensive line might be younger without Whitworth, but it is also porous.
Here’s more from the NFC:
On the brink of a second straight trip through free agency, it sounds like Eddie Lacy is going to get an opportunity to showcase his stuff. In the second half of the season, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and offensive line coach Tom Cable say that they will try to make Lacy the team’s true No. 1 tailback. “We’ve always tried to do that (establish one running back),” Cable said (via Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times). “So maybe we have gotten lost in ourselves a little bit, too. But yes, we want to get cleaner blocking first and foremost, and get a runner established.” So far this season, Lacy has 108 yards on 42 carries, giving him a career-low 2.6 yards per carry average. Lacy is playing on a one-year deal with Seattle worth up to $4.25MM.
The Eagles gave quarterback Nate Sudfeld a two-year deal, according to Adam Caplan of SiriusXM (on Twitter). The Eagles want to see what Sudfeld can do in training camp. If nothing else, he can serve as their third arm during OTAs.
The Panthers gave some thought to promoting Mose Frazier from the practice squad this week, coach Ron Rivera told reporters (Twitter link via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer). Instead, Carolina signed Brenton Bersin because of his familiarity with the team’s system. A spot opened up for a wide receiver when Carolina traded Kelvin Benjamin to Buffalo at the deadline.
Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford took the majority of first-team reps with the offense this week, according to Stacey Dales of the NFL Network (via Twitter), and her colleague, Ian Rapoport, tweets that Bradford looks increasingly likely to suit up for Minnesota’s matchup against the Bears tomorrow night. Bradford, of course, has missed the team’s last three games with a knee injury after a brilliant Week 1 performance, and the Vikes have gone 1-2 in that time. His return will be most welcome.
Now for more from around the NFC:
Seahawks RB Eddie Lacy looked sharp in last week’s win over the Colts, and Rapoport tweets that, with fellow running back Chris Carson likely to miss the rest of the season, Seattle is treating Lacy like the starter. However, the team may still elect to use a committee approach rather than devote a lion’s share of the carries to Lacy.
Seahawks G Luke Joeckel is expected to play against the division-rival Rams today and then undergo knee surgery during the team’s bye next week, according to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network (via Twitter). Joeckel has performed reasonably well in his first year in Seattle, and it is unclear whether his surgery will force him to miss the team’s next game, which will take place on October 22.
Giants head coach Ben McAdoo is not on the hot seat despite his team’s horrific 0-4 start, according to Rapoport (video link). Rapoport spoke with a team source this week who pointed out that the club does not have a quick trigger when it comes to major decisions, and New York still believes McAdoo will be a successful head coach in the NFL.
Speaking to the media today, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said today that rookie defensive tackle Malik McDowell is going to be sidelined “quite a while” after suffering injuries in an ATV accident last week, according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter link). Initial reports indicated McDowell could be in danger of missing the 2017 campaign, and Carroll confirmed “it might be a lot to ask” McDowell to play during the upcoming season, tweets Dave Mahler of 950 KJR. Seattle has already placed McDowell on the non-football injury list, meaning he isn’t currently counting against the club’s roster count.
Here’s more from the NFC West:
While he could still return in time for the start of the regular season, 49ers guard Joshua Garnett will be hard-pressed to do so as he’s expected to miss one month after suffering a knee injury over the weekend, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). As Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reported Saturday, veterans Brandon Fusco and Zane Beadles are now working as San Francisco’s starting guards. Garnett, the 49ers’ first-round pick in 2016, started 11 games during his rookie season, but graded near the bottom of Pro Football Focus‘ guard rankings.
For the third time this year, Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy has met a weight requirement that will net him $55K, per Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com. Lacy earned $55K in May for weighing in below 255 pounds, while his two most recent thresholds were 250 pounds. Signed to a one-year deal in March, Lacy’s contract has a base value of $4.25MM, which includes $385K in weight bonuses. An additional $1.3MM is available via incentives.
Cardinals offensive tackle Jared Veldheer took a personal day away from the club last month to contemplate retirement after chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was found in 99 percent of deceased NFL players’ brains that were donated to scientific research, as Bob McManaman and Andrew Vailliencourt of the Arizona Republic write. “It wasn’t really like, ‘Oh my gosh! This is scary.’ I wasn’t going to … It was more complicated than that,” Veldheer said. “Everyone kind of would like to know more about (CTE) just because that kind of stuff has only been brought up in the last five years or so really and there’s just a lot of stuff they need to do research-wise.” Veldheer, 30, will shift to right tackle in 2017 in order to allow former first-round selection D.J. Humphries to take over on the blindside.
Eddie Lacy is slimming down and cashing in. The Seahawks running back passed his scheduled weigh-in on Monday morning, a source tells ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter).
Now that Lacy has tipped the scales at 250 lbs or less, he’ll earn a scheduled $55K bonus. Per the terms of his contract, Lacy has monthly scheduled weigh-ins through the offseason and during the regular season. Lacy made weight in May, registering below 255 pounds, giving him his first $55K payout.
Lacy’s free agent deal is worth $2.865MM guaranteed but he can add on $2.685MM through incentives, a portion of which is tied to his weight. Lacy has earned a rep as a bruising power back, but his conditioning has often been criticized, so the Seahawks gave him extra motivation to stay trim.
The former Packer reportedly weighed in at 267 pounds during one free agent visit, so he’s already shed a significant amount of weight this offseason. The goal for Lacy is for him to play at 245 lbs during the season and he is right on the doorstep of that.
Eddie Lacy‘s next weight test will come on Monday, Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com reports, noting that the Seahawks running back must be at or below 250 pounds to earn a $55K bonus. Lacy made his May weight requirement, at or under 255 pounds, and collected the $55K bonus after the scale read 253 pounds. The goal remains for the fifth-year running back to be at 245 during the season. Lacy has come a long way from earlier this year, when the former Packers ball carrier reportedly weighed 267 pounds during one UFA visit. Guaranteed $2.865MM, Lacy can collect up to $2.685MM through incentives — the weight program being part of that package. This latest weight date coincides with Seattle’s minicamp, which begins Tuesday.
Here’s more from the Pacific Northwest.
We didn’t hear much about other suitors for Luke Joeckel prior to the former No. 2 overall pick reaching a one-year agreement with the Seahawks, but an anonymous executive confirmed — via Mike Sando of ESPN.com (Insider link) — the tackle/guard generated some interest despite an underwhelming Jaguars tenure and an injury-marred contract year. “We were all in it for Joeckel, too,” the exec said. “Joeckel had a market.” The Seahawks gave Joeckel an $8MM deal featuring $7MM in full guarantees. The latter number may well have come from Seattle having to beat out competition for the 25-year-old lineman.
The Seahawks may be evolving on Joeckel’s position. In April, Pete Carroll said Joeckel would begin at left tackle. Now, he’s playing more left guard after unconventional NFLer George Fant has convinced the Seahawks he’s a viable option to stay at left tackle, per Kapadia. Fant, who went from eighth grade to his rookie NFL season without playing football, has gained more than 20 pounds this year. Kapadia reports the former Western Kentucky basketball player is up to 320 after suiting up at 296 last season. Joeckel is still receiving looks at tackle and guard, but Kapadia notes guard will probably be where he plays.
Seattle also followed through with the move of shifting Mark Glowinski from left to right guard and Germain Ifedi to right tackle, per Kapadia, who identifies Glowinski as being more comfortable on the right side. The third-year player started 16 games at left guard last season but played some right guard as a rookie.
John Schneider has not used the franchise tag option to retain a player since his first year as Seahawks GM, when he tagged Olindo Mare in 2010, but Jimmy Graham is due to be a free agent in 2018 and has been tagged before. The tight end’s bounce-back 2016 season shows he could have value for a third NFL contract, and Roy Cummings of FanRag Sports writes that it wouldn’t be costly for the team to use the tag on Graham next year. Graham will make $10MM in 2017 after earning $9MM last season. The tight end tag number came in at $9.78MM this year, so a Graham tag in advance of his age-32 season in 2018 would not cost the Hawks much more than they’re already paying him. Seattle is projected to possess $34MM-plus in cap space next year, but this is without contracts for Kam Chancellor or Justin Britton the books.
Lacy’s deal includes roughly $2.865MM guaranteed with a max value of $5.55MM, meaning that there’s $2.685MM available via incentives. Approximately $400K of that additional money is tied to Lacy’s monthly weigh-ins, but he can make more if he delivers on the field. If he reaches certain yardage plateaus, he’ll come closer to achieving the full potential value of the deal.
If Lacy runs for at least 800 yards, he’ll cash in on an additional $250K. If he reaches 900 yards, he’ll get $500K. For a 1,000-yard season, Lacy receives $750K. At 1,100 yards, the number jumps to $1MM. And if Lacy rushes for 1,200+ yards, he’ll net an extra $1.3MM. These bonuses do not accumulate, so he can only collect at the highest plateau. For what it’s worth, Lacy has twice eclipsed 1,100 yards but he has never quite reached 1,200. His last 1,100+ plus season game in 2014.
Lacy can also cash in by staying on the field. The 26-year-old will earn $62,500 for each week he’s on the 46-man active roster, meaning that he’ll get an extra $1MM if he plays a full 16-game season.