Running back Christine Michael, waived by the Seattle Seahawks Tuesday despite being their leading rusher, will almost certainly be claimed by someone in need of a running back. Could, or should, that someone be the New York Giants?
The Giants are, of course, coming off their best rushing performance of the 2016 season. They gained 122 yards on 27 attempts, 4.5 yards per carry Monday. They closed out a 21-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals with five straight runs by Rashad Jennings, including a 9-yarder on a crucial third-and-6. Jennings had 15 caries for 87 yards, 5.8 yards per attempt.
That’s all well and good. The Giants made real progress in their running game against the Bengals, looking for the first time since early in the season like they might actually have a competent NFL running game. Monday’s success, though, does not mean the running game has been fixed.
The Giants are still 31st in the league averaging only 74.2 yards rushing per game. Their average of 3.4 yards per rushing attempt is 29th.
Could Michael, a fourth-year pro with a career average of 4.3 yards per carry (223 carries, 966 yards) for the Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys contribute to a Giants’ playoff drive? This season, Michael has 117 carries for 469 yards (4.0 per carry) and 6 touchdowns. He also has 20 receptions.
Perhaps the Giants showed Monday they have enough with the veteran Jennings and the emerging rookie Paul Perkins. But, perhaps they don’t. Maybe Shane Vereen will return from IR before the season ends. Maybe he won’t.
Our friends at SB Nation’s Seahawks web site, Field Gulls, weren’t surprised by the move to waive Michael:
This should not be unexpected, the writing was on the wall for weeks, all you had to do was listen to what the coaches were saying and pay attention to the results on the field. With the return of Thomas Rawls all but certain on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, there was no room for Michael unless the team was going to cut Alex Collins. While Collins has not played well, he’s a lot cheaper and signed for three more seasons, whereas Michael was going to be a free agent anyhow.
The move gives Michael a chance to catch on with a team needing a running back, of which there should be plenty, even if it’s in a backup role.
Would you like to see the Giants put in a claim on the 5-foot-10, 220-pound Michael? Keep in mind that even if they do, at 6-3 the Giants are 26th in waiver wire priority so several running back needy teams will have a better chance to land Michael than the Giants, should they want him.