The Seahawks are re-stocking their running backs—with a semi-familiar face.
Mike Davis signed a free-agent contract for 2018 on Thursday, ensuring the surprise starting back at the end of last season is returning with Chris Carson as the top options in the Seahawks' recommitment to the run this year.
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The Seahawks apparently will pay Davis, their leading rusher at running back last season with just 240 yards, less than they would have by tendering him earlier this month when he was a restricted free agent. The minimum salary Seattle could have kept Davis as a restricted free agent was for the lowest, original-round tender at $1,907,000. The Seahawks decided not to offer that, and sent him off as one of 12 former starters to leave the team or become an unrestricted free agent this month.
Now they've re-signed him, at their price instead of the NFL's.
Davis went shopping, but his free-agent market likely wasn't booming. The 49ers waived him this time last year. Then he spent the first 10 weeks of last regular season on the Seahawks' practice squad before he got his chance in Seattle, after Carson broke his leg and got ligament damage in his ankle in early October. Davis started six games, part of the league's lowest-producing core of running backs behind the Seahawks' malfunctioning offensive line that also needs revamped in 2018.
Essentially, the Seahawks are choosing Davis, 25, over 24-year-old former lead back Thomas Rawls, at least for now. Rawls didn't get a tender offer from Seattle, either, but he remains unsigned.
Davis was brought in off waivers from San Francisco last May, but was no better than the No. 4 tailback through training camp behind Rawls, 2017 splashy signing Eddie Lacy and Carson.
Needing someone to do anything in the running game by November, coach Pete Carroll turned to Davis as the starter against Atlanta.
Davis showed promise, but injured his groin in that game.
After missing a game at San Francisco, and with Carson on injured reserve, Davis returned to being the starter in early December against Philadelphia. He gained 100 total yards in a game for the first time in his three-season career to lead Seattle to its best win of 2017, the home upset of eventual Super Bowl champion Eagles.
Carroll has said repeatedly Carson remains his lead back and that he's on track to return for training camp when it begins in late July.