- Rare athlete
- Showed signs of "getting it" last year
- Has not proven himself over an extended period of time
- Ball security remains a concern until he carries more
It was confirmed that the Seahawks re-signed running back Christine Michael this week after choosing not tender him, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent. The thought was Seattle let Michael walk so they could pay him less than the tender would have cost. Contract details have yet to be released, but it is a safe bet the contract will be for less than the tender. This makes the third different time Seattle has added him to their roster.
Michael did a fine job filling in for Thomas Rawls for the final three games of last season. He saw significant action in two games. In one, he rushed for 84 yards on 16 carries (5.3 YPC) against the Browns. In the other, he rushed for 102 yards on 17 carries (6.0 YPC) against the Cardinals. He was then asked to fill in for Marshawn Lynch at the last moment in the playoff game in Minnesota in sub-zero temperatures, and ran for a tough 70 yards on 21 carries (3.3 YPC). Most importantly, he did not fumble in any of those games.
Michael looked like a capable fill-in runner and far more committed to the details of his craft. The question was never whether he had the physical tools, but whether he was willing to do the work necessary to be a professional. Seattle saw enough to give him another chance. Before the year started, he was the odds-on favorite to replace Lynch as the starting tailback. That honor belongs to Rawls now.
Seattle is likely to draft another running back, and possibly sign a free agent or two in order to create all the competition they can at the position. Michael most likely becomes the third running back, and will often be inactive for games unless he can find a role on special teams.
It makes perfect sense for the Seahawks to bring Michael back into the fold given their need at the position, his upside, and his likely affordable price tag. It would be surprising if Michael becomes anything more than a backup, and his roster spot is far from secure. He will have to play extremely well in camp to be part of this team next year.