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Chris Carson, elite breaker of tackles, is up for an extension

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Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Christopher Dewayne Carson is the lead running back for the Seattle Seahawks, and it should stay that way.

As Carson enters a contract year, he finds himself in truly elite company in one particular statistic.

He’s a monster at breaking tackles. Carson has broken over 20 tackles in consecutive seasons, one of only a handful of players in the NFL capable of such.

Here are the six best men on planet earth at preventing tackles at the moment, with their total broken tackles over the previous two seasons.

Derrick Henry - 63

Nick Chubb - 54

Chris Carson - 51

Alvin Kamara - 50

Saquon Barkley - 46

Ezekiel Elliott - 43

This is the extent of backs who’ve had two good years in this category. The likes of Aaron Jones have had 26 broken tackles one season, but six in another. This is simply not an easy thing to do. For example, see 2020’s one-man-team for the Carolina Panthers:

Christian McCaffrey - 31

At this point you may be wondering, why is this worth a conversation?

Because the Seattle Seahawks are also elite in a related category: generating opportunities for running backs to be tackled.

That might not be fair, but then again, we’ve all seen this team play, so it absolutely is fair.

But it’s also important for another reason. Carson does not break tackles primarily by pretty stiff arm with a cute stutter step. He kind of smashes dudes. In fact, Seattle runners kind of smash dudes a lot, ranging from the art of Marshawn Lynch to the unbridled chaos of Thomas Rawls. Carson’s somewhere in between. Backs on this team don’t generally come in the style of Kamara or McCaffrey.

But that Seahawk style comes at a cost. Carson’s not yet finished a full season. He was close last year, only missing one regular season game, but was also unavailable for the playoffs. Significant. Last season, his contact-heavy style also contributed at least in part to his world-record chasing seven fumbles. Devastating. He’s the best back this team has had since Beast Mode by a mile but the management still felt compelled to tie him to a 1b in Carlos Hyde. Intriguing.

What do you do with Chris Carson? If he plays a full season at his level he’ll be a top-three back in this league in broken tackles over three seasons. He’d be a three-time 1,000 yard rusher, should surpass 1,500 yards from scrimmage and have like 15 total fumbles.

This team hasn’t paid a running back big in a long, long time. Rashaad Penny is the first-round largely unknown shadow lurking at Carson’s heels.

Here’s the catch about Chris Carson. Every other running back on that list above just finished in the Top 40 of the NFL Network’s Top 100 list. Carson? Let in the back door at 96th. For some reason the stud playing out here in South Alaska is still a bit of an unknown, and it might be prudent for Seattle to try and sign him to an extension lest he pops off one more time and calls for a megadeal.

Either way, he’s been so fun to watch on this team and don’t miss out on the fact that he truly is one of the hardest guys to tackle in the entire league.