Free agent spotlight: Running backs

Seventh in a series looking the players who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents Tuesday, although the following information does not reflect who the Seahawks might be targeting:

Position: Tailbacks and fullbacks

Leader of the pack: RB Michael Bush, Raiders

What he’s done: The former fourth-round draft choice has run for 2,642 yards – including a career-high 977 last season – and scored 22 touchdowns in four seasons with the Raiders.

Where he ranks: No. 25 on Pro Football Weekly’s list of Top 100 free agents.

What they’re saying: “A physical, inside runner, Bush has been a capable fill-in for, and complement to, Darren McFadden in Oakland. However, Bush lacks breakaway speed. With McFadden’s durability a concern, re-signing Bush would make sense for Oakland. But will Bush be offered a starting job elsewhere? With the franchise tags (and re-signings) thinning the UFA RB ranks, Bush could do quite well in free agency.” – Pro Football Weekly

Other options: Browns RB Peyton Hillis, injuries and unhappiness with his contract sidelined and distracted him last season; Bengals RB Cedric Benson, don’t look now but the power back will turn 30 in December; Patriots’ BenJarvis Green-Ellis, fits New England’s scheme well but his dependability (has not fumbled in four NFL seasons) and productivity (1,008 yards in 2010, 24 TDs the past two seasons) should attract other teams; Chargers RB Mike Tolbert, a versatile back who seems to fit best in a rotation; Seahawks FB Michael Robinson, went to the Pro Bowl in his first season as true fullback. Ravens RB Ray Rice and Bears RB Matt Forte were given franchise tags; while Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch and Texans RB Arian Foster signed multiyear contracts.

Seahawks own free agents: Robinson; RB Justin Forsett.

Numbers to know: In his first full season with the Seahawks, after being acquired in a 2010 trade with the Bills, Lynch posted career-highs in rushing yards (1,204) and touchdowns (13) in becoming the team’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Shaun Alexander in 2005. Lynch also scored in 11 consecutive games, breaking Alexander’s club record from ’05 (nine).

Says coach Pete Carroll: “Marshawn is an effective player. He brings attitude and he brings personality to it, to our style that we like. It would be nice to have that when he leaves the field, as well. We’ll take it in any shape or form that it will add to the football team.”


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