What the future holds for Christine Michael
By Keith Myers
Christine Michael returned to the Seattle Seahawks humbled and hungry last season, but the odds are still stacked against him landing on the roster this season.
The saga of Seattle Seahawks running back Christine Michael has been an odd one to watch unfold. The former 2nd round pick has athleticism comparable to the likes of Adrian Peterson, but he’s never been able to turn those physical skills into on-field production. Now, his future in Seattle is murky at best.
When Seattle drafted Michael, he was to be the heir to Marshawn Lynch. Lynch is now retired, but it isn’t Michael that is poised to take over. Thomas Rawls, an undrafted free agent a year ago, came in and stole that crown.
More from 12th Man Rising
- 4 prospects Seahawks could reach for at No. 20 in 2023 NFL Draft
- Seattle Seahawks Mock Draft: Post-first wave of free agency
- Seahawks podcast: A review of the first week of free agency
- 4 experiments the Seattle Seahawks could cut short in 2023
- 3 pros and cons of Seattle Seahawks drafting Anthony Richardson
This is now Rawls’ running game. All the other backs, including Michael, are hoping to land on the roster as a backup. If Rawls hadn’t broken his ankle late last season, Michael probably wouldn’t even be on Seattle’s roster right now.
On top of that, the Seahawks drafted three running backs this year. Two are more receivers than every-down backs at this point, and will factor into the third-down role. The other one, Alex Collins, has special traits that’ll give him an inside shot at landing the backup job behind Rawls.
That means that Michael is probably on the outside looking in terms of a roster spot. He isn’t a third down back (where rookie CJ Prosise is pencilled in as the starter), and he’ll almost certainly end up behind Thomas Rawls and Alex Collins on the depth chart. Unless the Seahawks carry four RBs, that would leave Michael off the roster for 2016.
Of course, this is the same Seahawks organization that carried two fullbacks last year even though neither played much, so it is entirely possible that they decide that keeping Michael as depth is an option.
The problem with that plan is that Michael currently offers nothing on special teams. Guys that low on the depth chart must be able to make an impact on special teams or they simply aren’t worth keeping around.
The key word in that last paragraph is “currently.” After being traded and cut twice last season, he returned to the Seahawks humbled and finally ready to listen and do what was necessary to help the team. If he comes into training camp ready to use all that athleticism as a gunner on special teams, that will certainly change things.
For now though, Michael’s future likely hinges on the health of the other backs on the roster. If Rawls or Collins isn’t healthy at the start of the season, then CMike’s chances of making the roster jump considerably.
Gil Alcatraz from NFL Spin Zone included Michael in his list of players the Seahawks could trade away during training again. Perhaps that should read “could trade away again,” since the Seahawks shipped him off to Dallas after training camp last season.
The game tape of Michael from the end of last season is impressive. It is a small sample of games, but that freak athleticism showed while still staying within the offensive scheme. If Michael’s preseason carries show more of this “new” version of Michael, than he’ll certainly have interest from around the league.
Next: Are our expectations too high for Seattle in 2016?
In the end though, Michael’s future likely isn’t in Seattle. There are simply too many younger and cheaper backs on the roster that don’t come with his baggage.