Aug 23, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Christine Michael (33) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Seattle won 17-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Grading Christine Michael Signing

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.

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  1. As a Seahawk, Michael has 497 yards rushing and 1 fumble. While this is a small sample size, I dare suggest 1 fumble not enough to say. Having said that, his college record was bad, until 2012 when he had 1 fumble –that with his NFL record, suggests possible improvement? Admittedly, still not enough to say, but I feel hopeful.

  2. @AaronWilson_NFL · Mar 19

    Christine Michael one-year Seahawks deal: $725,000, $675,000 salary, $25,000 signing bonus, $25,000 roster bonus


    The only thing I really disagree with is the role you see CMike having going forward. I am very excited for Rawls but he has never carried a full season load rushing the ball even in college, let alone in the NFL. I believe Pete has said that going forward they would be careful to watch the load they put on him, they don’t want to over work him. What this says to me is that there will always be the potential for a RB to help carry that load, not a 15-15 carry split or anything, I still see Rawls carrying the ball 20 times a game ideally, but like Turbin who’d come in to give Marshawn breaks, I can see CMike coming in to not overwork Rawls.

    Turbin in ’14 would get between 2-6 carries a game, while CMike got around the same in ’14. So I take from those stats that there are 4-12 carries a game that Marshawn didn’t get. If Rawls is RB1, and we have a 3rd down back, why would CMike be inactive? We’d roll with 2 RB’s and a FB in 2016? That would be odd. In the past few years we’ve rolled with 3 RB’s and 2 FB’s.

    It is pretty clear to me that in 2016 we will roll with Rawls, CMike and a 3rd down back. All three will likely be active every game. If Cottom (FB) really steps up he could be our single FB going forward, which opens up a roster spot on the game-day active roster.

    In games where Rawls needs a rest, or needs to not be over worked, or when we are winning so we pull Rawls so he doesn’t get hurt or overworked, I see us putting in CMike.

  3. I just do not see it and am laughing my head off at your “talent” score for C-Mike. Having one 100 yard game against a team that was inexplicably struggling those last few games of the season does not raise one from ‘mediocre’ (as he has always been) to the grade you give him.

    If he does some amazingly unexpected stuff next year that elevates him to at least ‘starting RB’ caliber play or even just ‘very good backup RB’ then I will eat crow but until then he is just a bust.

    1. Dear Tony,
      In that amazing -31c Vikes PO win CM proved he is a changed man. CM & Doug & Rubin were amazing & I think he will be a dynamic back up to Rawls whilst Russ has a MVP season passing to Calm Doug & Jimmy & Tyler.

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