Should the Packers Bring Back RB Christine Michael?

Fourth year running back Christine Michael joined the Packers shortly after midseason after he was released by the Seattle Seahawks.

The Seahawks’ leading rusher at the time of his departure, Michael went on to rush 31 times for 114 yards with the Packers in the regular season, adding another 16 carries for 58 yards in the playoffs.

Michael is now an unrestricted free agent, but with James Starks out of the picture and Eddie Lacy a question mark for a number of reasons, the Packers could be interested in bringing him back.

But should they? Jon and Gary debate that question below.

Jon says no, because Christine Michael is not an effective running back

There’s no doubt Christine Michael is a gifted, explosive athlete. He just so rarely does things with those gifts that benefit the Packers.

Put differently, Michael does everything that James Starks did that made Packers fans scream, but Michael just does those things faster.

Michael does not follow play designs, preferring instead to freelance and cut back whenever he can. It almost never works. Even when he does get an opportunity to make something happen in space, he dances, as he did in the playoffs against the Falcons. It didn’t work there either.

Those proclivities towards ineffective cuts shows up big time in Michael’s stat sheet. Michael averaged a disappointing 3.7 yards per carry with the Packers, and discounting his 42-yard burst against the Bears, Michael averaged a positively putrid 2.6 yards per carry. On top of that, he’s a non-factor in the passing game.

He was worth a shot when the Packers picked him up, but now that they’ve gotten an up close look, I hope the front office concludes it can do better than Michael.

Gary says yes, because Michael will be cheap

There’s not a huge athletic gap between the best players and the worst players in professional sports. Every player on every roster has spent years refining their craft, and were all born with exceptional, God-given abilities.

That’s why it’s so rare when you see a player take over a game like LeBron James does on a fast break or Randy Moss did on a jump ball in the end zone.

Christine Michael, to me, feels like he has athletic abilities that the Packers simply have not had at running back. The touchdown run against the Chicago Bears is a prime example. He took the handoff from Rodgers and looked two or three steps faster than every other player on the field.

It’s been awhile since the Packers have had a quality player with those kinds of skills. Sure, there have been workout warriors Green Bay has brought in during training camp and on the practice squad, but none have made even the miniscule impact Michael had on the team’s success.

The free agent crop of running backs will be deep, and there are running backs available in the early rounds of the draft like Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, Leonard Fournette and Alvin Kamara that hope to make big impacts. Both of these factors drive down Michael’s price point.

Ultimately, I’m not looking for Christine Michael to start for the Packers. I think he can fit this offense as a productive change of pace back, and at a low number he should be back in training camp this August to compete with however the Packers overhaul their running back position.