In a weird turn of events, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson recently found himself in trade rumors. However, as many people expected, it doesn’t appear that the Seahawks are going to get rid of Wilson, one of their top players in franchise history. Financial reasons, though, may actually lead to them parting ways with one of his talented teammates. That teammate is star Seahawks running back Chris Carson.
Chris Carson has been valuable to the Seahawks and Russell Wilson
Chris Carson was a seventh-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft. Since 2018, though, he has been one of the Seattle Seahawks’ best offensive players.
Carson ran for 1,151 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games in 2018. Then, in 2019, he ran for 1,230 yards and seven touchdowns, as he continued to prove his potential. However, Carson battled injury in 2020 and only ran for 681 yards and five touchdowns.
Despite the down season for Chris Carson in 2020, he has proven his worth to the Seahawks and to Russell Wilson throughout his career. In addition to Seattle making the playoffs in every season that he has been the starter, Wilson has also had 31 touchdown passes or more and a quarterback rating of 105.1 or better in every the season that Carson has been the starting RB. Prior to Carson becoming the starter, Wilson only had one season with 31 touchdown passes or more and a 105.1-plus quarterback rating.
However, could Wilson soon say goodbye to his valuable teammate?
Will the Seahawks part ways with Chris Carson?
The 2020 season was the final season on Carson’s contract as he is now an unrestricted free agent. So, could the Seahawks actually part ways with one of their best players?
Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic appears to think so. Prior to his injury in 2020, Carson said that he considered himself to be a top-five running back in the NFL, per Dugar. If he still thinks that he is a top back, he may want to get paid like one. This could ultimately lead to Chris Carson and the Seahawks parting ways.
“Spotrac lists Carson with a market value at $29.6 million on a four-year deal, which amounts to $7.4 million annually,” Dugar wrote. “… Michael Ginnitti, Spotrac’s managing editor, said recently that Carson may be able to top Gordon’s deal with the Broncos if he signed with someone other than Seattle – and I’m inclined to agree. PFF projects a three-year, $27 million deal with the Bills. Because of the $8 million salary floor that the franchise tag unofficially sets, Carson is unlikely to take a deal averaging less than that on a long-term extension. Seattle is unlikely to spend any more than that on a long-term deal, meaning Carson will be running through defenders for another team in 2021.”
This isn’t a report directly from a team source, so the Seahawks could still bring Chris Carson back. Dugar makes some good points, though. Will the Seahawks really want to fork over the money for Carson when teams don’t even value running backs as much as they used to? Seattle is also only projected to have $4.95 million in cap space, per Over The Cap, but as Dugar noted, they can figure out ways to free up some more space if they really want to keep him.
Because of all this, though, there seems to be a good chance that the Seahawks could let one of Russell Wilson’s most talented teammates, Chris Carson, walk in free agency.
What could be in store for Chris Carson, Russell Wilson, and the Seahawks?
If the Seahawks don’t bring Carson back, where will he go? And who will the Seahawks start at running back? CBS Sports believes that Carson would be a great fit on the New York Jets. This is while Pro Football Focus predicts that the Buffalo Bills will sign Carson.
Carson would be a great fit in Buffalo, as they need a talented back. The Bills had a great passing game in 2020, but they didn’t have a running back run for over 700 yards. Adding Carson could get the Bills back to the AFC Championship Game.
For the Seahawks, maybe they could look into re-signing Carlos Hyde, who just ran for over 1,000 yards in 2019. They could also turn to Rashaad Penny, who missed a good chunk of 2020 due to an injury he suffered in 2019, or they could just try to find another veteran back in free agency like former Ravens RB Mark Ingram. There’s always the draft, too.
So, what about Russell Wilson? He’s been involved in trade rumors and has voiced some frustrations this offseason. NFL reporter Josina Anderson, though, recently said that a source made it clear: Wilson isn’t going anywhere.
Wilson could, however, still say goodbye to one of his most talented teammates and one of the Seahawks’ best players — Chris Carson. We’ll see what happens.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference