(Photo Credits: Joe Nicholson)
On Wednesday, the Green Bay Packers made a surprising move by claiming Rb Christine Michael off of waivers (Michael was previously waived by the Seahawks on Tuesday). This is an unexpected move made by Packers GM Ted Thompson, who rarely has made a splash in the waiver and free agent markets since becoming GM in 2005. Ironically, this has not been the only move the Packers have made this season where they previously traded for Kansas City Chiefs Rb Knile Davis a month ago, then cutting him after being with the team for only a couple weeks.
The addition of Christine Michael raises many questions on how this impacts the Packers during this season and for the future. Michael is still young (26) and has posted solid numbers during this season for Seattle (469 Rushing and 96 Receiving Yards for 7 total TDs in 9 games). Through his young career, he has not seen much action until the end of last season in which he posted solid numbers to help get Seattle to the NFC Divisional Round in the playoffs. A problem with Michael, indicated by the previous teams he has been with (Seattle and Dallas), is that he has had some off-field issues and difficulty adhering to what his coaches have wanted from him.
Michael provides talent at the running back position which is one of the things the Packers have needed the most during this troubling season. The Packers are ranked towards the bottom of the league in their rushing attack and are in desperate need to find an answer with a vast amount of injuries at the position from Eddie Lacy, James Starks, and Don Jackson. James Starks did recently return last week posting low yardage numbers with a touchdown. However, the Packers are lacking depth and Michael certainly fills that need. If the Packers expect to make a postseason run, they must have a run. Hopefully Michael is able to provide that energy to obtain a more balanced offense.
For the future, Michael could raise some more questions after this season. Eddie Lacy’s contract ends at the end of the year and there is a chance the Packers do not sign him based on his weight issues and lack of effectiveness over the last couple seasons. With Starks unable to be a lead back for being injury prone and nearing the end of his career at age 30, Michael could be the long-term answer or part of it depending on how the Packers address the position in the 2017 Draft or free agency. It certainly did not take Knile Davis long to head out. Therefore, it is too soon to have confidence in any scenario if Michael will be productive or not. It will surely require him to learn the system for a couple weeks before he can get a fair amount of playing time to show what he has to offer for a struggling team. Time will only tell if Michael is able to turn the running game around or add to the lost season the Packers could endure.