RENTON — The Seahawks on Wednesday signed veteran running back C.J. Spiller, adding depth to an injury-ravaged backfield in time for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.
Spiller was a first-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2010, taken ninth overall. He was released by the Saints earlier this month after being inactive for New Orleans’ first game of the 2016 season after the Saints said they tried to trade him. The Seahawks released Terrence Magee, signed as a free agent last week, to make room for Spiller on the 53-man roster.
The Seahawks are without Thomas Rawls for a few weeks due to a hairline fracture in his shin suffered against Los Angeles on Sept. 18. The team had thought Rawls might return this week but coach Pete Carroll said Monday that further tests revealed the fracture and that Rawls will be out “a few more weeks” at least.
Also, rookie C.J. Prosise hasn’t played the last two games while dealing with a broken bone in his wrist suffered in the opener against Miami. Carroll said Wednesday it would be up to three more weeks before Prosise would be able to play without protection on his hand.
Carroll said that the healing of Prosise’s injury, and the ability to play without a cast, is a “six-week process. So likely he’ll have to wear something to protect him all the way through those six weeks. We’re still a long ways away from that.”
While Prosise has been practicing regularly — he was listed as a full participant on Wednesday — the team has decided not to have him play the last two weeks which could leave the Seahawks been searching for someone to fill the third-down back role in his potential absence. That’s a role that could well suit Spiller, who has 192 receptions for 1,434 yards in his NFL career.
Spiller was slowed by a knee issue last season when he appeared in 13 games with two starts with New Orleans, rushing for 112 yards on 36 carries and catching 34 passes or 239 yards and two touchdowns.
The Seahawks brought in four other running backs for workouts on Tuesday, indicative of their desire to add depth at that position. Spiller worked out for the New York Jets, Seattle’s opponent Sunday, on Tuesday, then flew to Seattle and worked out with the Seahawks and then signed his contract.
Seattle’s other tailbacks at the moment are Christine Michael, Alex Collins, Rawls and Prosise. Collins essentially filled the third-down back role on Sunday against the 49ers but that has not been regarded as something that would be his primary role.
Spiller rushed for 1,244 yards on 207 attempts in his best season in 2012. He suffered a broken collarbone in 2014 in his last year with Buffalo before signing a four-year deal as a free agent with the Saints.