When the Buffalo Bills traded running back Marshawn Lynch to the Seattle Seahawks, it appeared the former, Cal-product would be remembered as another college-wonder-turned-bust.
Trades like this one – consummated just four weeks into the 2010 season – are rare, in the NFL. However, Buffalo was eager to wash their hands of the player they’d once made the 12th overall pick, and received what ended up being a fourth and a fifth round pick in return.
As for the Seahawks, well everyone knows how that trade worked out for them. Lynch became Beast Mode, posting four-straight seasons of 1,200+ rushing yards. Seattle captured its first and only Super Bowl title in 2014 and was a Malcolm Butler interception away from stealing another.
Seattle knew they were getting a bruising, power back to compliment the speedy Justin Forsett. But it’s likely not even they could have foreseen Lynch’s ascendance to dominance.
Running back can be a tough position to predict. For every Adrian Peterson, there are five Trent Richardson’s – talented players who simply never live up to the hype, which brings me to the case of one, Edward Darwin Lacy Jr.
Lacy, 26, joins an eclectic group of free agent running backs available for the 2017 free-agency period. To name a few:
That list doesn’t include all the college running backs yet to be drafted. It’s a deep list, but few can match Lacy’s combination of talent, age and track record. So why isn’t he in high demand? The answer is that, while the former Crimson Tide-star has shown flashes of effective play, he has also faced questions about his desire and conditioning.
After four years, the Green Bay Packers decided they’d had enough of “Fat Eddie.” It may mark the beginning of a precipitous slide for Lacy. However, of all the available backs, he is the one most capable of performing a Lynch-esque second-act.
Both stand 5-11, downhill runners with thick frames built for powering through defenders. Lynch had the better burst, but not by much (4.46 40 time for Beast Mode, versus 4.55 for Lacy).
At the time Lynch was traded, he had played a similar number of games as Lacy had. Here are how their numbers compare, in that span.
Lacy: 46 games, 3075, 23 TD, 4.3 YPC, 872 REC, 6 RTD
Lynch: 45 games, 2,765, 17 TD, 4.0 YPC, 670 REC, 1 RTD
Last season, Lacy showed up to camp in shape and motivated. The results? He was averaging a career-best 5.1 yards per carry, before going down with a season-ending injury. That figure included 2.15 yards after contact, which was the sixth-highest total in the league.
With the relative-surplus of available running backs on the market, he will probably be forced to accept a short-term, “prove it” type of deal. Lacy showed last year that he can take his conditioning to the next level when financially-motivated.
He’s dealt with ankle maladies but has thus far managed to avoid catastrophic injuries suffered by some of his positional brethren. All the time sidelined due to his ankles has resulted in him having relatively-low mileage, carry-wise.
Depending on where he lands up. If he lands in a good situation, on a team such as Tampa Bay, Denver or (fittingly enough) Seattle, then I think we haven’t heard the last of Fat Eddie.