With free agency’s first wave complete, we’re now into the bargain shopping season for teams as they look to add players to complete their pre-draft rosters. With most of the big money receivers off the market, there are several premier (at least in name) running backs looking for homes, including Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson. One player now off the street is former Packer Eddie Lacy, who has signed a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks for $5.55 million with $3 million fully guaranteed. This move has solidified what we thought about the Seahawks in terms of their assessment of their running back depth chart and has serious ramifications for some key dynasty players. Let’s go through the affected parties one-by-one.
Eddie Lacy, RB SEA
I wasn’t long ago when Lacy was one of the most sought after running backs in dynasty leagues. His first two years in the league were great as he posted back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons, added over 700 total receiving yards on 77 catches and scored 24 total touchdowns for Green Bay. Things went south for Lacy shortly after as he averaged only 4.1 yards per carry and scored a total of five touchdowns in 2015. Last year was even worse as he was injured early in the season and appeared in only five games for Green Bay, though he did average over five yards per tote.
Simply put, the biggest challenge with Lacy is his inability to stay in shape. He reportedly showed up to a few of his visits this past week weighing in at over 265 pounds – a good 25 or 30 pounds over his optimal playing weight. Lacy has obviously struggled to keep the pounds off as he’s rehabbed his ankle over the past few months and has battled his weight throughout his short playing career. The Seahawks are banking on him buying into their system and getting himself back into playing shape. Having him on a one-year deal where he’s essentially betting on himself should conceivably help.
So, what should we expect?
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Lacy received a pretty healthy contract and it’s clear the Seahawks are going to make him a key part of their offense. I believe he fits better into the Seahawks system than a player like Charles because of the inefficiencies of the offensive line in Seattle – they need a bruising back who can run through contact and that contact could come behind the line of scrimmage. Lacy has thrived in that category. In fact, his 2.15 yards per rush after contact since 2013 is second in the league, behind none other than former Seahawk great Marshawn Lynch.
I expect Lacy to be the primary first and second down back, with Thomas Rawls being mixed in here and there and CJ Prosise handling third down duties. If any of the three were to get injured (not a hard thing to imagine), Lacy’s role would grow as long as his waistline doesn’t. His ADP has taken a beating over the past few months and this signing will help it go up a bit.
Thomas Rawls, RB SEA
Rawls is now one of the clearest losers in free agency. While the Seahawks really like his ability, it’s clear they’re not sold on his durability. Rawls has not been the same since his mysterious ankle injury and it seems like a long time ago when he took the fantasy world by storm and averaged a ridiculous 5.6 yards per carry in 2015. Rawls is going to be a change of pace and relief back for Lacy and that’s not what his owners had hoped for – his dynasty ADP will drop even more than it has from its peak in April of 2016 in the coming months. If you’re not a believer in Lacy, now would be the time to buy on Rawls. It’s not inconceivable to see this signing as a one-year rental for Seattle and if Rawls performs well in 2017, he could step right back into the featured role. You could get a solid back on the cheap in that scenario.
CJ Prosise, RB SEA
Prosise was likely going to be the third down back this year regardless. However, this signing likely seals that role for him moving forward. Prosise still makes for a nice stash on a roster but nobody who took him highly in rookie drafts is exactly thrilled about having patience for yet another season, though I expect him to actually have a nice season in PPR leagues as he has the potential to catch 50 or more passes. The Seahawks will likely use Lacy on early downs, Rawls for a breather ever few series and Prosise on third downs. Much like Rawls, if he performs well this season, he could get a nice value bump if Lacy leaves. The bigger threat to Prosise may be Jamaal Charles or someone else being added to the roster. We really need to preach patience and not panic in regards to Prosise, though.
Russell Wilson, QB SEA
The Seahawks really need to establish a running game to help out Wilson and this signing could certainly help. The real problem in Seattle is the offensive line and that’s going to limit both Wilson and Lacy unless they get it figured out quickly.
Marshawn Lynch, RB FA
Don’t expect those shoes to be coming off that wire any time soon.
The signing of Lacy was a bit of a surprise at first. However, it makes sense on many levels. Time will tell if Lacy is able to get himself into shape and capture his early career form. If he does, he’ll be a bargain for Seattle. If he doesn’t, he’ll likely only be there for a cup of coffee (some of the best in the country) and possibly the buffet line at a local restaurant or two.
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