Will New Tailback Eddie Lacy be Phat or Fat for Seahawks in 2017?

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 2:36 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 29, 2017 2:36 PM UTC

The Seattle Seahawks had interest in four free-agent running backs in March but decided on former Green Bay Packer Eddie Lacy. Good player if he can stay in shape. Let’s examine the signing and Bovada props on Lacy’s 2017 season.

The Seattle Seahawks were the NFC’s best team from 2013-15 when they had bulldozer running back Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks were one of the NFL’s best rushing teams behind Lynch and reached two Super Bowls, winning XLVIII in a blowout of the Denver Broncos. Seattle should have repeated the next year, but Coach Pete Carroll for some reason didn’t give Lynch the ball on second-and-goal at the New England Patriots’ 2-yard-line late in the game. We all know what happened next: the Pats’ Malcolm Butler picked off Russell Wilson’s pass to secure the unlikely win.

Lynch rushed for 1,257 regular-season yards and 12 touchdowns in 2013 for Seattle and 1,306 yards and 13 TDs in 2014. He retired after an injury-plagued 2015 season in which Lynch was limited to seven games and only 417 yards. There’s talk he might unretire and play for his hometown Oakland Raiders in 2017, but that’s a story for another day and Seattle would have to release his rights.

Last year, Seattle was the weakest it had been since 2011 in finishing 10-5-1 and losing handily in the NFC Divisional Round in Atlanta. A big problem was the running game as the Seahawks averaged 99.4 yards per game, 25th in the NFL after ranking in the top four each of the previous four years. Seattle’s projected top two backs in 2016, Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise, each dealt with injuries and were limited to a combined 15 games.

So running back was a priority this offseason. Seattle considered Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and Latavius Murray but chose Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy. Which Lacy will the Seahawks get? The 1,000-yard rusher in 2013 & ’14 or the overweight Lacy from the past two seasons? On NFL odds, Lacy is given totals of 950 yards and/or 7.5 touchdowns this season.

Lacy rushed for 1,178 and 1,139 his first two seasons in the NFL, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2013, before weight and injury issues slowed him. Listed at 234 pounds, Lacy has at times played 20-25 pounds above that number, and that’s when he tends to struggle or get hurt. He reportedly was 267 during a weigh-in while on a free agent visit in March.

In 2016, Lacy was on his way to a bounce-back year with 360 yards on 71 carries, a career-high average of 5.1 yards per attempt. However, he went down in Week 6 with what proved to be a season-ending ankle injury.

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The Seahawks inked Lacy to a one-year deal worth up to $5.5 million, and weight incentives are a big part of this deal. Lacy will receiver $55,000 per month from May to December if he weighs in at or less a specific number: 255 in June, 250 in June through August and 245 from September through December. Carroll wants Lacy in the 240s.

It’s a low-risk, high-reward deal for Seattle because it’s just for the one year. If Lacy, 26, is motivated and in shape, he can be a beast. He will compete with Rawls (who was great as a rookie in 2015) for the No. 1 role, with Prosise more of a third-down back. Seattle does have a bit of a shaky offensive line, and that could be why Lacy was the choice. Since entering the NFL, Lacy has averaged 2.15 yards after contact, which ranks sixth-best over that span.

If Lacy is the clear primary back, I would recommend ‘over’ both those NFL picks. However, I question his commitment and Rawls will still get his share of carries.

Free NFL Picks: ‘Under’ 950 Yards & 7.5 TDsBest Lines Offered: Bovada
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