Count me among those who like what the Seahawks are doing by casting a wide net at offensive line and running back, and sorting through the options while holding the line in terms of how much they pay.
They have been in contact with basically every unrestricted free agent of note to this point, and the deals they have secured with running back Eddie Lacy and lineman Luke Joeckel are limited investments that won’t compromise them long term.
The Seahawks were proactive in securing visits with the top backs, according to sources -- Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Eddie Lacy, Latavius Murray and essentially ensuring that the running back market went through Seattle first.
From that group they liked Lacy the most, even with the caveats about his weight.
They never entered negotiations with Peterson, I’m told, and preferred a younger back, all things being equal, and someone with upside; buy low on Lacy now and you might tack on a few years with an extension, while at his age and with his injuries, Peterson is going year to year with his best behind him. I get it.
Seattle had people down in Alabama checking on Lacy’s rehab and recovery, they did plenty of homework on the signing and they already know he is a scheme fit in their zone running game (what he excelled at in Green Bay). Seahawks GM John Schneider has deep roots in Green Bay from his time there and is very familiar with that roster and how certain players fit his team and at just $3 million guaranteed, that is a smart move.
Lacy could earn as much as $5.5 million, but that will require him to meet thresholds for his weight -- yes there are provisions in that regard -- and also be productive on the field to attain incentives.
The Seahawks gave him $1.5 million to sign and guaranteed his modest $1.365 million base salary for 2017. The rest is up to Lacy, who needs to keep his weight at a certain level to pick up $385,000 in weight bonuses and ne needs to be on the active roster each week to attain $1 million in cumulative weekly roster bonuses. Then there are $1.3 million in not-likely-to-be-earned incentives based on production.
So, yeah, Lacy will be plenty motivated.
In a perfect world for them, Lacy would shed 20 pounds or so from his current weight of 267, but they indeed want him to be a load to bring down. They will still meet with Charles, who is also coming off injury, but that is just to have information on him for down the road should, say, he still be available in August and Seattle is down a few backs. Can’t hurt to do your due diligence.
As for the offensive line, former Packers guard T.J. Lang is the one that got away. Seattle had a huge offer on the table and it’s another player Schneider knows well, and it would’ve been a great scheme fit.
But Lang is a native of Detroit and had the opportunity to go home and be close to his family -- and the Lions had huge money on the table as well. That’s how it goes sometimes. And to me, that makes more sense than paying a guard like Kevin Zeitler $12 million or giving an aging tackle like Andrew Whitworth or a suspect one like Matt Kalil $26 million for two years.
Seattle will continue to monitor value plays on the open market -- it wouldn’t shock me if Ryan Clady or Jermon Bushrod ended up there -- and will add more experience to what was a too-young offensive line in 2016. But it’ll be cost-effective with upside.