After missing out on their big offensive-line target, the Seahawks have added a big -- sometimes in Green Bay, too big -- running back, instead.
Free-agent rusher Eddie Lacy confirmed on social media Tuesday morning that he agreed to a one-year contract with the Seahawks.
“Blessed for another opportunity to play the game that I love. Thank you @Seahawks #GodIsGood #GoHawks” Lacy posted on his Twitter account, @Lil_Eazy_Ana_42.
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“Thank you to the @packers organization for taking a chance on a kid from Gretna, LA. Life changing opportunity & am forever grateful” Lacy also tweeted, an emoji of two hands praying.
Lacy’s representatives, Sports Trust Advisors, confirmed confirmed through Twitter retweets that the deal is worth $5.5 million, with $3 million guaranteed.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told Seattle’s 710-AM radio Tuesday: “I like that we're bringing in a big, tough guy that's gonna send a message the way he plays.”
Carroll was asked if the Seahawks could expect Lacy, listed at by his now-former Green Bay Packers at 234 pounds but reported to be above 260 in the last year, to weigh 235 pounds in the 2017 season. Carroll said the 240-pound range would be more realistic for the Seahawks to expect.
"This is a chance for him to prove it,” Carroll said.
It’s the second such prove-it signing for Seattle in the league free-agency period that began on Thursday. Both are one-year deals that minimize the team’s risk and commitment to players who are both coming off injuries and doubt.
Left tackle Luke Joeckel from Jacksonville signed with the Seahawks for one year and $7 million guaranteed on Saturday. Carroll told 710 AM Joeckel could play left tackle or left guard for Seattle. Then on Sunday, Seattle got out-bid by the Detroit Lions for Pro Bowl guard and Michigan native T.J. Lang.
Lacy, 26, played out his four-year, $3.3 million rookie contract with Green Bay last season. Well, sort of played it out.
He was a Pro Bowl back with 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie in 2013. He followed that with a 1,139 yards rushing with nine scores and another Pro Bowl selection in ’14. After Lacy dipped to 758 yards and three TDs on the ground in 2015, Packers coach Mike McCarthy told Lacy he needed to lose weight. He’s listed at 234 pounds but was thought to have gotten above 260 last year. The Packers put him on injured reserve with an ankle injury in October that needed surgery.
Veteran Packers writer Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Tuesday that Lacy weighed 267 pounds last week at one of his three free-agent visits in the last week. Lacy was known to have visited with Seattle, Minnesota and Green Bay.
He visited the Seahawks last weekend, before former All-Pro back and NFL most valuable player Adrian Peterson came to Seattle as another free-agent possibility. Lacy is five years younger than Peterson, and thus likely came more cheaply than the more-accomplished, though banged-up, Peterson would have.
Seattle spent years among the top four rushing teams in the NFL. Then Marshawn Lynch had his first injury filled season of his career in 2015 and retired. Last season the Seahawks dropped to 25th in rushing, averaging 99.4 yards per game. In 2016 they had a backfield that couldn’t stay healthy. They had 18 different players carry the ball in a game. And they had the league’s lowest-paid offensive line inexperienced and unable to consistently clear running lanes.
Here’s what the Seahawks like with Lacy: Even in his abbreviated 2016, he led the league in yards gained after contact: 2.8. Does that sound like any pounding back that used to scarf down Skittles on Seattle’s sidelines during games?
Lacy’s 5.1 yards per carry last season -- albeit in only five games with 7 1 rushes, before his ankle injury and disappearance from Green Bay’s plans -- were his career high. It was eighth-best in the NFL among runners with at least 70 carries.
For Seattle, this is a low-risk, short-term investment with a potentially big payoff. That is, if Lacy even comes close to approaching his productivity and short-yardage effectiveness of 2013 and ‘14.
The Packers obviously thought he wasn’t likely to do that. Heck, they had wide receiver Ty Montgomery, wearing No. 88, as their primary running back late last season into the NFC title game at Atlanta.
The Seahawks are waiting for C.J. Prosise, their tantalizing rookie from 2016, and Thomas Rawls to stay healthy long enough to have a full season as their young (combined NFL experience: three seasons) and inexpensive rushers.
“I can’t tell you I’m not concerned about C.J.,” coach Pete Carroll said two days after the Seahawks lost in the divisional round of the playoffs at Atlanta Jan. 14.
Then, this month at the NFL scouting combine, Carroll said of his running backs: "Guys have made statements about who they are and then they have to come back and reestablish that and take it as far as they can. There is nothing in the way of C.J.
"Thomas Rawls is a terrific player on our team, too, who had a very difficult season. He was banged up all year. So those two guys come back to camp really raring to go, and we are looking forward to that.”
The signing of Lacy, who turns 27 in June, is the Seahawks’ insurance for one year against more injuries from Prosise and Rawls. Rawls has yet to finish a full season as a starting back since high school in Flint, Michigan.
That insurance won’t break Seattle’s bank, either. The Seahawks had $18.65 million in salary-cap space before the agreement with Lacy, according to overthecap.com.