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Who next in Seahawks’ running back derby?

While many are presuming the Seahawks now must rush to add another running back to take White’s place, I’m not convinced that is the case. Running back was one area that was very deep with the addition of veterans White and Leon Washington.

Somebody wasn’t going to make it already from the group that also includes holdovers Justin Forsett, Julius Jones, Louis Rankin and free-agent signee Quinton Ganther.

Forsett and Jones were getting all the first-team reps ahead of White in practice anyway, partly because White’s attendance had been hit-and-miss and partly because Forsett and Jones are two guys who work hard and run hard and practice hard.

I’ve got a feeling the new coaching staff likes what it sees from those two and is eager to add Washington to the mix when he’s fully recovered from the broken leg that is expected to be healed in time for the start of camp in late July.

Don’t sleep on Ganther, either, as he played for running backs coach Sherman Smith last year with the Redskins and is a versatile back who can play a little fullback and special teams as well.

None of those backs are as big as White, whose departure leaves the “running back by committee” shy on a short-yardage threat.

Marshawn Lynch, a former first-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills, could be available in trade if the Seahawks are willing to pay the price. (Getty Images/Al Bello)

Thus the rumors that Seattle will be hard after a trade for Buffalo’s Marshawn Lynch. I don’t buy that one because of the same reason why White is no longer here. Lynch has had issues with the Bills. He’s a tough, talented runner and young at 24, but there’s a reason he lost his starting role to Fred Jackson in Buffalo.

He’s been suspended for three games by the NFL once already for a gun possession charge and had a hit-and-run situation with a pedestrian in Buffalo as well.

And while the Seahawks have shown they’re willing to look under every rock to add talent and give those second chances, you should note that the rocks they’ve turned over so far have been in the bargain-basement section, not the ritzy rock bin.

Outside of the trade for Charlie Whitehurst, GM John Schneider hasn’t been prone to giving up assets to obtain “gamble” guys.

The Williams’ receivers were both free agents that cost nothing. Same with Losman. White was acquired in by a trade that cost Seattle only a couple spots in the late rounds of the draft, as was Washington.

The one high-priced risk the Seahawks explored was Brandon Marshall, but they didn’t pull the trigger on that one.

The Bills had been asking for a second-round draft pick for Lynch. Unless their price has gone way down, Seattle won’t be interested.

That’s where the “why” Carroll gave up on White impacts the “what happens next” scenario. It didn’t cost the Seahawks anything to find out White hadn’t changed. But if they give up a valuable draft pick for Lynch and then learn he’s not “in” with the system either, it won’t be as simple to release him.

Justin Forsett

That’s why I don’t see Seattle going that direction. Frankly, the Seahawks have far greater needs than added depth at running back. Forsett seems the perfect back for Alex Gibbs’ zone-blocking system. His only question is whether he can hold up to the pounding of a 16-game season, but Washington’s addition provides insurance there.

Seattle’s issues are greater at defensive end and in the secondary. They need offensive line and wide receiver depth more than another running back at this point.

If they’re worried about having a bigger back in the mix, then bring in free agent Justin Fargas, a hard-running 220-pounder who was released in a salary cut by the Raiders.

Fargas played one year for Carroll at USC in 2002. He’s 30, injury prone and not an every-down back candidate any more, but he could fill the short-yardage role if that’s deemed critical.

Ganther and fullback Owen Schmitt are short-yardage options, but Carroll and Schneider do like competition, especially at the right price.

So while I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fargas get a look, I would be surprised to see a trade for Lynch unless he’s available at such a low cost that the risk is minimal.

As we’re learning, the Seahawks do have an open-door policy for players who’ve had problems in the past. But as LenDale White just discovered, that door swings both ways.


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