After the 2020 season, Coach Pete Carroll stated that he wanted the Seahawks to run it more and better in 2021. Well, the Seahawks decided to take a chance by re-signing Chris Carson.
The Seattle Seahawks decided not to use the franchise tag on running back Chris Carson coming up to the March 17th start of free agency. Chris Carson then sat on the free agency table for up to 48 hours. This is when talks finally finished up, where Chris Carson and the Seahawks came to terms on a two-year deal worth $14.625 million. The contract includes a third voidable year for cap purposes, according to multiple reports.
Chris Carson’s work in Seattle
In the last four seasons that Chris Carson has been in Seattle, he has been able to record 3,270 years and 21 touchdowns, averaging 4.6 yards per carry. Carson has even averaged 72.7 rushing yards since he had joined the NFL in 2017. Those are just the minimal stats that Carson has been able to produce over the last four years.
Along with Carson, the Seahawks’ backfield currently includes Rashaad Penny, Travis Homer, and DeeJay Dallas. Injuries limited Carson to 681 rushing yards in 12 games in 2020. Wilson finished second on the Seahawks with 513 rushing yards, while Carlos Hyde — who recently signed with the Jaguars — finished third on the team with 356 yards.
There are some concerns with Carson going forward. First, there is the injury history. Carson’s 2019 season was cut short with a hip fracture, and he also missed time this past year with a sprained foot. Then there are the fumble woes. This dates back to his time with Oklahoma State, where he was benched for losing the ball, and continues into his NFL days. Back in 2019, Carson fumbled seven times — including four lost fumbles — and was also inconsistent at the mesh point with quarterback Russell Wilson, which led to some fumbles that were charged to the quarterback.
Those two factors were going to play in any negotiation this offseason. But the opportunity to re-add a running back with a pair of 1,000-yard seasons is going to intrigue most front offices and no front office more than Seattle’s.
Breakdown of Carson’s Contract
The Seahawks and Carson agreed to a new contract. It is technically a three-year deal worth up to $24.625 million but voids to two years at $14.625 million. So it’s best viewed as a two-year deal, with the void year a way for the team to spread out more of the salary-cap hit. Specifically, it allows the Seahawks to spread out Carson’s signing bonus over three years instead of two.
The deal gives Carson $5.5 million guaranteed in 2021 with the chance to earn up to $6.9 million overall next season, according to NFL Media and other reports.
Here is the full breakdown of the contract:
2021: $1M guaranteed base, $1.4M in incentives, cap # of $2.5M
2022: $4.5M base, $425K in per-game bonuses, $1.4M in incentives, $1.4M base salary escalator
Max value: $14.625M
It’s the first time the Seahawks have used voidable years in a contract in the John Schneider era, but it’s become an increasingly popular tactic around the NFL this year with the salary cap at just $182.5 million, down from $198.2 million last year, due to COVID-19-related losses in revenue. And in fact, the cap hit was revealed to be just $2.5 million for the 2021 season, far below the almost $8 million the team would have had to pay Carson had they placed a franchise tag on him.
Carson has been the heart and soul of Seattle’s running game since being taken in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL draft out of Oklahoma State.
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