Joe Mixon just got paid. The Bengals star runner inked a brand new four-year, $48 million deal on Tuesday. Alvin Kamara is up next as the Saints running back is reportedly hoping for a new contract of his own before Week 1.
Chris Carson is keeping tabs on all of it. Ignoring it would be impossible given how his phone blows up each time a running back cashes in. The Seahawks top ball carrier is friends with Mixon and sent him a congratulatory text. But you could tell that Carson’s uncertain future is weighing on him a bit.
He’s set to become a free agent in 2021, but that’s a full season away. That’s 16 more games of being one of the best values in the NFL as he’ll make just $2.15 million in 2020.
“Of course it’s something that’s on my mind," Carson said. "You see a lot of guys starting to get paid, but I try to not let it distract me from the season.”
Carson is one of the most underrated running backs in football. He’s ranked fifth in rushing yards in each of the last two seasons, topping 1,000 yards both years. Carson is as physical a runner as you’ll find while possessing more than capable hands in the passing game.
And yet there’s no guarantee he ever gets his big money deal. Carson has had a pair of season-ending injuries: a broken leg in 2017 and a fractured hip in 2019. His bruising style of play will always make injuries a possibility, which, again, only adds to the uncertainty of his future.
Carson wisely dodged a question about whether he’d prefer to be in Seattle long term. There’s no benefit to him banking on a long-term future in the Pacific Northwest.
“I don’t like to think about it because you get your hopes up and then something goes south,” Carson said. “Let’s just keep a level head with everything.”
He did divulge that Seattle is yet to approach him about a potential extension.
“Not really, no,” Carson said in regard to whether or not anything is in the works with the Seahawks front office.
Unless he has a change of heart, Carson will play out the final year of his rookie contract in 2020 and hope for the best rather than hold out and seek new money immediately.
Who knows what will happen six months from now. The Seahawks could look to lock up their 2017 seventh-round pick next offseason. Or the team could decide to roll with Rashaad Penny, DeeJay Dallas and potentially a veteran who would come cheaper than Carson.
Kudos to Carson for being a professional about the matter, especially when speaking about it publicly. But Mixon, a back with 76 fewer rushing yards and one less touchdown than Carson over the last two seasons, just got paid $12 million a year. That’s a dollar figure that Carson and his agent will remember when it’s finally his turn to sit down at the negotiation table.