Could Seahawks Turn to Trade Market for Running Back Help?
We are now less than a month away from the NFL Draft and while things will be different thanks to the coronavirus, it promises to still be a wild three days and the Seahawks figure to be in the middle of the action.
With time running out until draft week, Seattle still has major needs to address on the defensive line. But they have accomplished quite a bit over the past two weeks.
They have heavily invested in the depth of their offensive line, added a third wide receiver with upside, and even traded for a corner that should make their secondary one of the strengths on the team. But one position they have yet to address is running back.
By now, Seahawks fans must know that running back is a need. With Chris Carson coming off a hip injury and his inability to string together a 16-game season, as well as Rashaad Penny's late-season ACL tear, this leaves the team with Travis Homer as the only healthy option. Right now, we don't have a lot of information from the team, but at the end of the season, coach Pete Carroll indicated Carson would be ready by training camp and Penny's availability for Week 1 would go down to the wire.
Even if both are healthy and ready to play by Week 1, the Seahawks still need to invest in the position. Carson's injury history is well documented and he is set to enter free agency after this season. Penny has flashed and looked to have turned the corner in the second half of last season, but expecting anybody to be effective 10 months after major knee surgery is a stretch.
Earlier this offseason, the Seahawks were linked to former running back Alex Collins and the rumors surrounding a return of Marshawn Lynch won't go away. Both are possibilities and this draft class provides several intriguing options that could make sense for Seattle.
Names like Jonathan Taylor, A.J. Dillon, and Zack Moss immediately jump out, but each comes with significant risk. Taylor will likely go in the second round, maybe even in the late first, but Dillon and Moss should be available into the third and fourth rounds. But what if instead of using a draft pick to invest in a runner you think might be good, you invest that pick in somebody you know is good?
The Seahawks have never had an issue trading mid-round picks for veteran players. Just a few of their successes include Chris Clemons, Marshawn Lynch, Leon Washington, Jadeveon Clowney, Quandre Diggs, and most recently Quinton Dunbar. So, if they wanted to do it again, who would they target?
One name that could make sense is Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay. An undrafted player out of Colorado, Lindsay burst onto the scene as a rookie, rushing for 1,037 yards. He followed that up with another 1,000-yard season and has appeared in 31 of a possible 32 games for Denver.
Lindsay also provides value in the passing game, catching 35 passes in each of the past two seasons. Lindsay's production and availability make him a valuable asset and he may not be available. But Denver hasn't shown much faith in Lindsay this offseason, signing Melvin Gordon to a two-year deal. Denver also invested a third-round pick in Royce Freeman, who has underwhelmed thus far.
Right now, the Broncos are letting it be known that they plan to employ a 1-2 punch with Gordon and Lindsay. We also know that NFL teams have no incentive to be honest, especially this time of year.
Lindsay may very well not be available, but Seahawks general manager John Schneider wouldn't be doing his job without checking in. If Lindsay can be had for a fourth round pick, it could represent another steal for Schneider and company.
Lindsay, as an undrafted free agent, has one year of club control remaining before becoming a restricted free agent. This means the Seahawks would have to use either a first round, second round, or original round tender to retain him. Placing a second-round tender on Lindsay would likely bring him back at $3.5 million for 2021, making the total investment in Lindsay a two-year, $4.2 million contract.
Adding a complement to Carson and Penny who can eventually replace Carson or improve the Seahawks offense beyond 2020 should be a priority this off-season. While Lindsay may not be "the guy," there will be other candidates who fit the mold. It is more likely than not that the Seahawks will draft an heir apparent. But Schneider is as aggressive as any executive on the trade market, so we can't rule it out completely.