With training camp slated to begin sometime next month, there’s a very good chance the Seahawks could have their lead running back healthy and ready once players return to the field.
Despite fracturing his hip during Seattle’s Week 16 matchup against Arizona, running back Chris Carson didn’t require surgery over the offseason, essentially providing him with a head start in his recovery. As a result, the fourth-year pro has already been able to participate in on-field drills this spring.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented Carson from working out at Seattle’s team facility, he’s still been able to make a ton of progress with his rehab while practicing at local football fields. Luckily for 12s, they were given access to one of his workouts as the 5-foot-11 running back shared a short video on Instagram of himself working on his footwork in cone drills.
Over the last few months, even dating back to the NFL Scouting Combine in February, the Seahawks have remained optimistic about Carson’s ability to be ready by the start of the season. In addition, general manager John Schneider confirmed the team’s belief the explosive ball carrier would be ready by Week 1 during his interview with Dave Mahler and Dick Fain on Sports Radio KJR back in May.
“We’re expecting Chris to be ready, yeah,” Schneider detailed.
Without OTA’s and minicamp, it’ll be difficult to gauge Carson’s health status until he takes the field during training camp. With that said, the Oklahoma State product is already much farther along in his rehab than safety Lano Hill was in 2019 after he underwent offseason hip surgery.
Even though Hill played in 12 regular season games along with two playoff contests last season, his procedure sidelined him throughout training camp and he lost a significant amount of weight during his recovery. Keeping this in mind, the Seahawks are very lucky Carson was able to avoid surgery.
While Carson has racked up back-to-back 1,000 rushing yard seasons along with recording career-highs in catches (37), receiving yards (266), and touchdowns (two) in 2019, the versatile running back already features a lengthy injury history through three seasons in the league. After ending his rookie campaign with a broken leg, the 25-year old battled through a different hip injury in 2018 and landed on injured reserve again in December.
With Carson set to become an unrestricted free agent next spring, his inability to remain healthy will already be a major red flag for most teams, especially since the running back position has been devalued in recent seasons. If he suffers another serious injury in 2020, his potential value on the free agent market would likely drop significantly.
Since next year’s class of free agents could also include running backs like Derrick Henry, Kenyan Drake, Leonard Fournette, Todd Gurley, Dalvin Cook, and Alvin Kamara, Carson might struggle to earn a lucrative contract if his health becomes a problem once again in 2020.
From Seattle’s perspective, they have a lot of uncertainty involving the starting running back spot after next season. If Carson departs in 2021, the team could provide Rashaad Penny with the starting role or look to acquire a top ball carrier in free agency or through the draft.
Before looking ahead to next offseason, the Seahawks are focused on having another successful season running the football in 2020. With the additions of Carlos Hyde and DeeJay Dallas along with Travis Homer returning for his second season, adding a healthy Carson - along with Penny after Week 6 - to the mix should give Seattle plenty of depth and firepower in the backfield next season.