You clamored for a big free agent signing, and Pete Carroll delivered – perhaps not quite the way you expected. Eddie Lacy, former cheese-hauler for the Green Bay Packers, is now a Seahawk, signing a one year contract with Seattle today. Much of the initial response has been either shock – “we could have had Adrian Peterson and instead we got the cheeseball???” – or ridicule – “I see they picked up another tackle – well I heard he’s about 320, so I just thought they were moving Lacy to the O line.” I’m telling you, this is not a bad move at all.
First, let’s look at the dollars – and this is a business, so you have to look at the contracts. Lacy signed for $3 million guaranteed, with incentives that would top out at $5.55 million. The guaranteed money brackets him between Derrick Henry and T.J. Yeldon. Yeldon had 777 yards combined rushing and receiving with 2 touchdowns, at an average rush of 3.6 yards per carry over 15 games. Henry, of course, split time with DeMarco Murray, but still amassed a total of 627 yards rushing and receiving with 5 touchdowns, and averaged 4.5 yards per carry over 15 games. Lacy meanwhile compiled 388 total yards rushing and receiving with no touchdowns, and a 5.1 yard per carry average over 5 games. Per game: Yeldon averaged 51.8 yards, Henry 41.8 yards, and Lacy 77.6 yards. That looks like a pretty good value to me. Oh, as for Adrian Peterson, he’s coming off a serious injury as well, and is six years older than Lacy. In NFL running back years, that’s an extra century.
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There are of course two large – pun intended – questions. First is that little matter of just playing in five games last season. An ankle injury ended his season after week 5; in his previous three seasons in Green Bay’s backfield, he had missed a total of two games, so there is no reason to doubt his durability. Yes, there were concerns at Alabama, and he’s been dinged up many times, but 46 games out of 48 is a pretty good record in the NFL.
The other concern is…let’s say the elephant in the room? Okay, I’ll stop. Yes, word is Lacy currently hits just under 270 on the scales, and we certainly know the issues he’s had with his weight with the Packers. Pete Carroll’s solution? Let him be a big back. No, he isn’t thinking of making him the new Ron Dayne, but the coach did proclaim he wants Lacy to fill the classic big back mold. While Lacy will have to cut down on the pizza, he won’t be expected to hit that mythical listed weight of 234. Ten pounds heavier is just fine with the Seahawks. The goal is to be in great shape, but heavier. A heavy sledgehammer in the backfield can fit in quite well with the Seahawks’ scheme.
And one final thing about the weight issue. You hear it a lot – “He’s a pro, he should be able to manage his weight!” It simply isn’t that easy. No, I don’t have multi-million dollar contracts in the balance, but I myself struggle, and have things at stake; things like a more enjoyable lifestyle, getting to that crosscourt shot quicker, and not dying 20 years earlier than necessary. And it’s still hard to eat right, exercise properly, all the things I know to do. Lacy struggles with his weight; he’s human. Get over it. I think the Seahawks have a terrific approach here, by embracing Lacy’s weight to some degree. As Coach Carroll said, “He’s a big man. I want him big.” You got him, Coach.