The Seattle Seahawks saw their 2019 season come to a close in a divisional round loss to the Green Bay Packers where the depth chart at running back and on the offensive line contributed to an inability to consistently move the ball on the ground. Both Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny finished the season on injured reserve, leading to the team being put in a position where it was forced to bring back veterans Robert Turbin and Marshawn Lynch as depth at an important position for the Hawks.
As Penny and Carson continue to work their way back from the injuries that put them on IR last season, the Hawks took steps this offseason to ensure there was some extra depth on the roster. Specifically, the Hawks signed free agent running back Carlos Hyde, and running back may be a position where the team is set for this season. That said, Pete Carroll and John Schneider are always willing to listen and entertain offers, so a report Tuesday from Rich Cimini of ESPN regarding Le’Veon Bell of the New York Jets potentially coming available in the fall could grab the attention of some Seattle fans.
So, the question becomes what would it cost the Hawks to acquire Bell? From a cap standpoint, if he were brought in at the trade deadline (the Tuesday after Week 8, which is November 3 this season), his cap hit for the final nine weeks of 2020 would be $4.76M. That’s about what Carson and Hyde will cost combined for the entirety of the 2020 season. However, if either Carson or Hyde go down with an injury and Penny’s recovery timetable is slowed some, then the $4.76M price tag for Bell might not be all that unattractive. It’s a tiny bit less than the $4.98M the team paid Duane Brown when he was acquired midseason from the Houston Texans in 2017, a season during which the team was far tighter against the cap than they are set to be for 2020.
That leads to what sort of compensation would be required. If the Jets are willing to part with Bell for a Day 3 pick or two, then it would seem possible that Carroll and Schneider could be all over it. If the Jets are somehow asking for a Day 1 or Day 2 selection, then it’s likely not something that gets done.
That said, adding Bell could help the running back position for not just 2020, but potentially for 2021 and 2022 as well. Bell’s contract would carry the following cap his if he were to be acquired in trade:
- 2020: $4.76M
- 2021: $11.5M
- 2022: $13M
So, while the price tag for 2020 would not be all that high, both 2021 and 2022 would likely be pricier than Seattle would be interested in paying. If, however, the team were looking for a leverage piece for negotiations with Carson, Bell’s contract could act as a ceiling for any extension the two sides might work on. Then, if Carson and the Hawks come to agreement on an extension that keeps him with the Seahawks going forward, Bell’s contract would carry no dead money in either 2021 or 2022, assuming he is released prior to the start of training camp.
Putting it all together, Bell’s services are probably more expensive than the Hawks are looking to pay going forward, but if the injury bug hits the running back position early in the 2020 campaign, it won’t be a surprise if Seattle brings him in for the stretch run. Also, helping the Jets improve their cap situation going forward might not be the worst idea if looking to curry favor with a team who also has a safety who has said he’d prefer to play elsewhere, as Jamal Adams has done.