It is important to remember that the NFL salary cap is likely to go down in 2021 due to the effects COVID-19 placed on the financials of NFL teams. Some teams, like the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints are doomed to suffer multiple cap losses because of this. Seattle is tight against the cap too but will have a bit more room. There needs to be enough room for Chris Carson to be re-signed.
No position group is likely to feel the sting of a lower salary cap that running backs. They are already part of a unit that is getting paid relatively less and are valued less than they were even a few years ago. Running backs normally have short shelf-lives so NFL teams don’t want to pay them as much unless they are truly special, like Alvin Kamara of the Saints.
Seattle could decide to let Carson walk and try to see how Rashaad Penny pans out as the full-time starter, but this would be a mistake. Carson is the closest Seattle has come to replacing Marshawn Lynch when Lynch was at his best early in the 2010s. And we have seen this season how a lack of Carson can really hurt the Seattle offense.
Does Carson get hurt too much? Yes. But he also doesn’t miss long swaths of seasons since his rookie year of 2017 (he missed two games in 2014 and was hurt in week 17 of 2019). He has missed 4 games this year and 12s only remember him missing them so well because Carson adds an element of danger to the Seattle offense that isn’t there when he doesn’t play.
If Seattle can get Carson to sign for three year in the $8-10 million range, they should jump at it.