The Seattle Seahawks will be without CJ Prosise (fractured scapula) for at least six weeks it seems, and backup Troymaine Pope could be on the shelf for a while himself with a high ankle sprain. That leaves Alex Collins as a backup to Thomas Rawls on first and second down, but there is still a major hole on third down, as well as insurance necessary should Rawls get seriously injured for the third time in less than a year.
They can’t sign CJ Spiller (Jets) or Christine Michael (Packers). But there are many more options available out there right now because the running back position is still one of the least valued in the NFL, if only because there are so many of them out there who seem capable of at least being able to share a job with someone.
CJ Prosise is 6’, 220 lbs, ran a 4.48 forty at the combine with 35.5” vert and 121” broad
Troymaine Pope is 5’9, 205 lbs, 4.49 forty, 35” vert, 120” broad
Here are a lot of options I researched:
Ronnie Hillman: On Waivers, 5’9, 200 lbs, 4.45 forty, 37” vert
The Minnesota Vikings waived Hillman on Monday after 18 carries for 50 yards and four catches for 43. It’s a quick down-turn of events for Hillman, who is only 25 and rushed for 863 yards and seven touchdowns for the Super Bowl-winning Denver Broncos a year ago.
The Vikings haven’t been a good offense for any running back (Adrian Peterson was averaging 1.6 YPC) this season, but neither has Seattle’s. Hillman “looks” more like a third down back, but is considerably smaller than Prosise and does almost nothing in the passing game (6.7 YP-reception in his career.) He’s quite similar to Pope, however.
I don’t think that Hillman really solves the problems on having a “third down back” but he is definitely the most intriguing option that is kind of available.
Cyrus Gray: Free agent, 5’10, 205 lbs, 4.47, 32.5” vert, 114” broad
Gray hasn’t had much of an NFL career, but he played at Texas A&M, getting carries away from Christine Michael, so I can only assume he’s always been on Pete Carroll’s radar. He’s most recently been released by Dan Quinn and the Atlanta Falcons in August.
Joique Bell: Free agent, 5’11, 220 lbs
The veteran option, Bell is 30 but that didn’t stop them from signing Fred Jackson (who was older) a year ago. Bell also averaged 40 catches per season from 2012-2015 with the Detroit Lions. He was released by the Chicago Bears last month.
Chris Polk: Free agent, 5’11, 222 lbs, 4.57 forty, 31.5” vert, 111” broad
Like Gray, just a really bad broad jump compared to Pope and Prosise. But the former Washington Huskies running back was one considered a top prospect at the position and he’s out there now, if he can pass a physical. He didn’t do much with the Houston Texans last season other than have a few nice family moments on Hard Knocks.
Ahmad Bradshaw: Free agent, 5’11, 195 lbs
If you’re 30, like Bell and Bradshaw, I’m not paying any mind to your combine stats from last decade. (Exaggeration but a fun one.) Bradshaw is experienced, can catch a pass, and a two-time Super Bowl champion.
Trent Richardson: 5’9, 228 lbs, 4.49 forty
He was a disaster in the NFL but Richardson said as recently as August that he’s not giving up. This could be an opportunity for Carroll, a connoisseur of elite high school recruits of the late 00s, to try him out at the cost of nothing. Richardson’s duties wouldn’t go any further than “Emergency option” or some snaps on third down, and the worst that could happen, presumably, is that he gets released. Sometimes I think we dislike players simply because they bust, but if Richardson experiences a career rejuvenation, even on a small scale like Big Mike Williams, I’m all for it.
Cameron Marshall: FA, 5’9, 212 lbs
He’s been with the team on and off this season, so Marshall makes a lot of sense.
Zac Brooks: FA, 6’1, 200 lbs
They drafted him after all, but he doesn’t really seem to fill the need they’re looking for right now and the team wasn’t too keen on prioritizing him as someone to keep around.
Montee Ball: FA, 5’10, 215 lbs, 4.66 forty
Ball finished higher than teammate Russell Wilson in Heisman voting back in 2011 for Wisconsin but a famously slow 40-yard dash was the first sign things might not work out at the next level. He was a second round pick of the Broncos in 2013, pairing with Hillman among others, but hasn’t played since 2014. But he is out there and familiar with Wilson, and presumably Darrell Bevell.
Roy Helu: FA, 6’, 216 lbs
He caught 42 passes for 477 yards with the Washington Redskins in 2014, so he could be that kind of guy for Seattle, if he’s interested in playing. He’s only 27 but did very little with the Raiders last season.
Bryce Brown: FA, 6’, 220 lbs
Another former Seahawks running back, but has the team seen enough from him?
Pierre Thomas: FA, 5’11, 210 lbs
Hasn’t played this season but the former New Orleans Saints change-of-pace back (now 31) used to be among the best in the business at doing what he does. Thomas caught 77 passes in 2013. Then 45 in 2014. Then only nine last season in five games split between Washington and San Francisco. Is the veteran presence gonna be more valued than youth and upside?
Fred Jackson: FA, looks like Fred Jackson
Retired? As far as I can tell, Jackson has not called it quits and is still looking for more opportunities at 35.
Storm Johnson: Dolphins practice squad, 6’, 212 lbs
Drafted in the seventh round out of UCF in 2014 by Gus Bradley and the Jacksonville Jaguars, currently on the Miami practice squad alongside running back Senorise Perry, a UDFA out of Louisville in 2014.
Tyler Gaffney: Patriots PS, 5’11, 220 lbs, 4.49 forty, 36.5” vert, 116” broad
The combine results tell you that Gaffney does fit the profile of a lot of other Seattle running backs. He was a sixth round pick out of Stanford in 2014 by the Panthers, has been with New England since that season, which shows he might be a good guy to have around in practice. Is Carroll willing to give him a spot on the 53 though?
Karlos Williams: Steelers PS, 6’1, 229 lbs
Had a really good season with the Buffalo Bills last year before some personality, work ethic issues got him released. Can Carroll afford to take a chance on another former Bills running back? (Lynch, Jackson, Brown, Spiller)
Darrin Reaves: Chiefs PS, 5’10, 215 lbs
He’s been with Carolina and Kansas City since going undrafted out of UAB in 2014. The Chiefs and Seahawks just seem to like similar players.
Andre Williams: Chargers PS, 5’11, 230 lbs, 4.56 forty, 117” broad
Somewhat surprising Williams is on a practice squad. The back who finished fourth in Heisman voting in 2013 and a fourth round pick of the Giants in 2014, is available if anyone wants to add him off San Diego’s practice squad and roster him.
Jhurell Pressley: Falcons PS, 5’10, 206 lbs, 4.39 forty
Pressley himself has said in the past that “I’m not just a running back.” The Packers released him after deciding he was more of a third down back that they didn’t need and he is currently with Quinn in Atlanta. There are a lot of connections to like and reasons to think Carroll would be interested in seeing more of Pressley in a third down situation.
David Cobb: Bears PS, 5’11, 225 lbs
Had the same pre-draft coach as Prosise, that much I do know. Had high expectations with the Titans and those obviously did not work out.
Rod Smith: Cowboys PS, 6’3, 240 lbs
Not much like Prosise or Pope at all, but a former Seattle running back.
Don’t you forget about me, notable free agents: Anthony Dixon, Dan Herron, Jonas Gray, Toby Gerhart, Daniel Thomas, Donald Brown, Kendall Hunter, Vick Ballard, Bernard Pierce, Lache Seastrunk, Zac Stacy, Jon Amosa, Kendall Gaskins
Players I’m most intrigued by: Pressley, Gaffney, Bradshaw, Hillman