On Sunday the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Carolina Panthers 30-24, with running back Chris Carson pounding the Panthers to the tune of 24 carries for 133 yards and 2 touchdowns. The win not only moved the Seahawks to 11-3, thanks to help from former Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, the Hawks were able to slide back into first place in the NFC West. That move into first place allowed Seattle to jump up into the number one overall seed in the NFC, and leaves the team sitting pretty with just two games to go in the season.
However, it’s the fact that there are just two games to go in the season that brings about a question that will become suddenly relevant as soon as the whistle sounds to close out the Week 17 game against the San Francisco 49ers: Will the Seahawks give a contract extension to Chris Carson this offseason?
Since being drafted in the seventh round of the 2017 draft, Carson has been phenomenal for Seattle. He’s rushed for 2,549 yards and 16 touchdowns, while managing to stay healthy enough to play in 29 of the 31 games the Hawks have played during the past two seasons. Basically, if he can stay healthy through however many more games the Seahawks play this season and then again through 2020, he’ll be in line for a good sized contract.
On the flip side, with a year left on his rookie contract, there’s no rush to extend him. Through playing more than 35% of the offensive snaps the Hawks have played this season and last, he’s already qualified for the Proven Performance Escalator. That will increase his base salary for 2020 from $735k to a projected $2.144M per OverTheCap.com, but he’s likely looking for something bigger.
Thus, the potential is there for the Seahawks to perhaps use some of the leverage they hold based on the fact that Carson plays a position not known for being durable, and the team could lock him up to a below market deal in exchange for guaranteed money. Carson knows what it’s like to suffer a devastating, season ending injury, and should understand that he plays a position which could see his career end on any given play.
Keeping that in mind, Carson could also become the first running back drafted in the sixth or seventh round to earn a good sized second contract since the current CBA went into effect in 2011.
Always good to question your priors:— Brad_OTC (@BradOTC) September 7, 2019
Not one RB taken after pick #200 from 2011-2015 earned a second contract with an APY of at least $1M
Of course RBs can produce on rookie deals and get run into the ground, but you couldn’t find a viable starter in the 6th/7th
That noted, let’s take a look at how his numbers stack up compared to the other running backs drafted in 2017.
Rushing production for the RBs taken in the 2017 NFL Draft
So, the question for Carson may become how much money is he willing to give up in potential future earnings in exchange for increased guarantees in 2020? While for the Seahawks, the question is obviously how much in current guarantees are they willing to pay in order to potentially save money in 2021 and beyond? Signing Carson to a below market extension could be fantastic, but it could also see his bruising style lead to a quick end to his days of dominance at any time.
My guess is the two sides work out a reasonable contract, not unlike how Tyler Lockett and the Seahawks did back in 2018, which keeps Carson in Seattle through his late 20s. It most likely won’t be top of the market money, but it won’t be a super cheap discount deal, either. I’ll dig more into exactly what it could look like numbers wise once the offseason arrives, but it would seem a very reasonable expectation for this to get done this offseason.
It’s simply a matter of making the numbers work for both sides.
Should the Seahawks give Chris Carson a contract extension this offseason once he’s eligible, and if so how much should they be willing to pay him?
This poll is closed
No, RBs are too risky
Yes, but only if it’s very inexpensive (less than $5M per year)
Yes, as long as it’s not completely unreasonable (under $10M per year)
Yes, pay the man. Use the whole cap. Whatever it takes ($10M+ per year)