Earlier in the day, the Seattle Seahawks acquired running back LenDale White (and defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson) from the Tennessee Titans while swapping their fourth- and sixth-round draft picks.
With those picks, the Titans drafted UCLA cornerback Alterraun Verner in the fourth round (104th overall) and Florida Atlantic quarterback Rusty Smith in the sixth round (176th overall). Meanwhile, the Seahawks drafted Oregon cornerback Walter Thurmond in the fourth round (111th overall pick) and USC tight end Anthony McCoy (185th overall).
White, who played his college football at USC under Pete Carroll, carried the ball only 64 times in 2009 for 222 yards and two touchdowns as Chris Johnson became the sixth NFL running back to top the 2,000-yard milestone. Over the previous two seasons, White had 503 carries for 1,883 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Who would have expected that kind of decline after White, who lost 20 pounds in the 2009 off-season, gave up the tequila?
But the Seahawks also added another running back.
After drafting USC running back Joe McKnight in the fourth round, the Jets decided to trade Leon Washington (and a seventh-round pick) to the Seahawks for a fifth-round pick that they used to draft Kentucky fullback John Conner.
Washington missed more than half of the season after suffering a compound fracture in his leg, however, when healthy, he's one of the league's most versatile backs. Based on the one-year tender he received as a restricted free agent, Washington will earn $1.759 million in 2010.
"Right now, my focus is on just getting healthy, back healthy, 100 percent," Washington said, per Danny O'Neill of the Seattle Times. "Getting on the football field and contributing and trying to win football games. That's my main focus, and then when I do that, everything else off the field will take care of itself. I'm just excited about the opportunity that I have."
The other running backs on the Seahawks roster include Julius Jones, Justin Forsett, Louis Ranking and Quinton Ganther.
In my top 40 fantasy running back rankings for 2010, I put Forsett at number 32 on the list.
At the time, I wrote, "It looks as though the new regime led by coach Pete Carroll will give Forsett a fair shot to win the role as the featured back over Julius Jones although there is the possibility they will draft an elite running back prospect this week. Either way, Forsett (5.4 YPC) was much more productive than Jones (3.8 YPC) when given the chance."
With the familiarity and comfort that White presumably has with his former collegiate coach, I expect White to be the starting running back in this offense in 2010 and to get the largest workload. If Washington comes back healthy for week one, he does well what Forsett does well as a versatile, third-down back.
So, in other words, Forsett will not be in the top 40 fantasy running backs when I update the rankings to include the rookie draft class as well as to adjust for trades and off-season news.
As of today, if I had to rank the fantasy value of the Seahawks' running backs, they would be as follows: (1) LenDale White, (2) Justin Forsett, (3) Leon Washington and (4) Julius Jones.