Eddie Lacy Leaves Packers for Seahawks

Running back Eddie Lacy has agreed to a contract with the Seattle Seahawks. A 2013 second round pick, Lacy rushed for 3,435 and 23 touchdowns in four seasons in Green Bay.

2016 season recap verdict: Did not meet high expectations
Lacy’s contract with Seattle: 1 year, $5.5 million, $3 million guaranteed
Projected compensatory pick range: Fifth round
The Packers next play the Seahawks: 2017 at Lambeau Field

Lacy is one of the great recent examples of the “when healthy” qualifiers.

He’s a great power runner… when healthy.

He can contribute as a competent pass protector… when healthy.

He’s a pretty good receiver out of the backfield… when healthy.

What’s more, Lacy is often his own worst enemy when it comes to staying healthy. He’s allowed himself to get badly out of shape over the past few seasons, and it has in part contributed to other injuries.

Despite repeated fines from Packers coach Mike McCarthy, Lacy failed to get himself into better shape and found himself on the outside looking in when it came to the Packers’ plans as a result.

How Lacy’s signing helps the Seahawks

As noted above, Lacy can be a solid contributor (everyone say it together: when healthy). The real question for Seattle is whether they consider Lacy a feature back of a complementary piece. Lacy is a skilled player, but his skills are best deployed in a certain way.

He runs best from formations where the quarterback is under center, and if Seattle is hoping to use him as a feature back, they should be prepared to adapt their offense to Lacy’s skills or risk disappointment with their investment.

If possible, should the Packers have matched this contract?

According to Ian Rapoport, the Seahawks signed Lacy to a one year, $5.55 million dollar deal with $3 million guaranteed. That’s roughly equivalent to the last extension James Starks signed, except a year shorter. That’s a fairly significant financial commitment to a player who hasn’t been able to stay on the field for a variety of reasons.

Though the Packers do need depth at running back, they need reliability most of all. Lacy hasn’t been reliable lately, and though he’s been good when healthy, the Packers need someone who’s always (or even mostly) available to contribute at their highest possible level.

Does Lacy leaving help or hurt the Packers?

Though he has struggled to stay fit and healthy, Lacy’s production has not diminished. He was averaging 5.1 yards per carry with the Packers in 2016 before he was injured, and in the 16 games prior to his injury his stat were more or less in line with his career averages.

However, the specific style of play most conducive to Lacy’s skills is not necessarily the way the Packers play best, and if losing Lacy forces the Packers to build around players similar to Ty Montgomery, his departure could be a net gain.