Eddie Lacy is still just 26. It feels like that needs to be pointed out, because discussion of Lacy’s value—and his health and his weight, all intertwined topics—has become something of an annual ritual.
The former Packers running back will try to prove his critics wrong this season in Seattle. The Seahawks signed Lacy to a reported one-year deal worth $5.5 million ($3 million guaranteed) on Tuesday. Lacy will join a crowded backfield that already included Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise and Alex Collins.
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“I’ve been asked that for 15 years if it’s better to have two running backs than one,” Pete Carroll said at the combine. “I’ve always thought that’s really valuable when you can have two guys or three guys that you can work, and we have not had any hesitation going back to our college days.”
The 2015 season really was the nadir of Lacy’s career to date. After surpassing 1,100 yards in each of his first two years, Lacy appeared to balloon up in the off-season, then slumped to just 758 yards on 187 carries. He returned in better shape last year and started well—5.1 yards per carry in Weeks 1 through 5—only to suffer an ankle injury that eventually landed him on injured reserve.
Seattle has the makings of a terrific fit, provided Lacy stays healthy and in shape. All of the aforementioned Seahawks backs have shown promise in spurts, but Carroll last season was unable to replace the physical presence he lost when Marshawn Lynch retired.
No matter his official weight, Lacy brings to a similar style to the table. Per Pro Football Focus’s Nathan Jahnke, Lacy ranks fourth among backs in missed tackles forced over the past four seasons (Lynch is No. 1). He can get to the outside, but Seattle is more likely to count on him to work between the tackles.
The one-year deal would allow Lacy to hit the market again next year, when he’s 27. Obviously, doing so off a productive 2017 would be preferable to this year, when he reached free agency while recovering from his ankle ailment.
The price tag marks a rather significant commitment from the Seahawks, though. At $5.5 million, Lacy would land among the top-10 running back contracts in football for the moment, with other veterans like Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles still unsigned.
Seattle must believe in him. There is reason to, even if the pro-Lacy camp has to provide a refresher course each off-season. Grade: B-plus.