Over the course of the Pete Carroll regime, the Seattle Seahawks have invested heavily in their running back room. From 2016 to 2020, the Seahawks selected seven halfbacks in the draft, oftentimes passing up chances to reinforce other areas of need on their roster to do so. This offseason, however, they will need to bite the bullet and invest in the running game once again.
Amidst all the talk of Russell Wilson’s injury and how it affected the offense this season, Seattle’s offensive success was more a function of their ability to run the football, statistically speaking. Consider, for instance, that Seattle ran for more than 140 yards on seven occasions this season, and won six of those games.
Perhaps that is simply a function of game script, though? Well, also consider that Seattle’s running game finished second among all teams in rushing EPA/play, trailing only the Colts and their Jonathan Taylor-led ground attack.
Seattle Seahawks need to invest in their running back group this offseason
Going into this offseason, however, the Seahawks stand to lose breakout star Rashaad Penny to free agency, having declined his fifth-year option prior to the 2021 season, and would be relying on Chris Carson to shoulder the load next season.
Carson spent the majority of 2021 on injured reserve with a neck injury, and has reached 250 carries just once in his five-year career. Elsewhere in the RB room are Deejay Dallas, Travis Homer, and Alex Collins, none of whom have proven to be effective primary options in the opportunities they have had.
Considering how effective Penny was when he was given the feature role, an opportunity not afforded to him in previous seasons, Seattle has to consider re-signing him. With $42 million in cap space this offseason, according to Over the Cap, they can afford to make him a competitive offer without losing core talent.
Elsewhere in the free agent market are names such as Leonard Fournette, James Conner, Marlon Mack, Sony Michel and Chase Edmonds, among others, should the Seahawks choose to address the running game in free agency.
Should they choose to draft another halfback, Seattle’s first opportunity would be at the 41st pick. That said, this draft class seems to lack standout halfbacks, and finding an immediate replacement for Penny’s end-of-season production could prove difficult.
If the Seahawks learned anything from what was a disappointing season, it ought to have been the importance of having a dynamic running back to complement their play-action-heavy passing game. This offseason, they have a chance to return to their roots and re-commit to their running game, and it is of the utmost importance to the future of their offense that they do just that.