Editor's Note: After publish, Marshawn Lynch officially signed with the Seattle Seahawks per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
At the moment, the only healthy running back on the Seattle Seahawks roster is a rookie sixth-round pick named Travis Homer, who until Week 16 had three career carries.
With regulars Rashaad Penny (knee), Chris Carson (hip) and C.J. Prosise (arm) all down, nobody expects the 21-year-old Homer to carry the load in the important Seattle backfield, especially after he gained just 16 yards on five carries in relief of Carson and Prosise on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
Only four NFL offenses rely as heavily on the run as the Seahawks, who according to TeamRankings.com, pass on fewer than 54 percent of their plays. So nobody would be surprised if Seattle were to make a splash prior to a critical Week 17 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers.
Cue the return of Beast Mode?
Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times suggested almost immediately after Seattle's loss to Arizona that the team could pursue Marshawn Lynch, who is currently a free agent and has not filed retirement papers.
Condotta added that the team has interest in veteran back C.J. Anderson, who played a big role for the Los Angeles Rams during their 2018 playoff run after signing with Seattle's NFC West rival last December. And frankly, Seattle's best approach might be to sign both. In fact, the Seahawks should be open and willing to sign a multitude of veteran backs to see who emerges the quickest.
They obviously can't put all their eggs in Homer's basket. And while Lynch is a local legend, the Seahawks and their fans can't let nostalgia cloud their view.
Lynch is 33 years old, he hasn't been a consistently reliable running back since 2014, he averaged a mere 4.1 yards per carry during his last three NFL seasons, and he hasn't played a game in over 14 months.
Sure, he might be fresh after so much time off, but he'll also likely be rusty, and the Seahawks can't afford to wait for him to shake off that rust. If they're going to desperately invest in a man who has scored three touchdowns in the last two calendar years, they need to supplement that signing with another addition.
The 28-year-old Anderson makes a lot of sense. He's at least played professional football this season, and at this exact point one year ago, he put together three consecutive 120-plus-yard rushing performances for a Rams team that signed him to relieve the injured Todd Gurley II.
Condotta also reported that Seattle worked out former Seahawk Robert Turbin and former Houston Texans back Alfred Blue last week, so it wouldn't be surprising if they called either player back now that Carson and Prosise have joined Penny in the infirmary.
Sign all four if you can. Anybody have Doug Martin's cell number? Fire a text to Zach Zenner. Certainly they've got contact info for former Seahawks Thomas Rawls and Alex Collins, both of whom remain on the open market.
At least sign two or three, and bring in more. Cast a wide net, and don't concentrate only on Lynch.
Don't get me wrong: Lynch's addition is a no-brainer if you can make it happen, especially because of the lift he could give the locker room from a morale and leadership standpoint. But on the field, he's unlikely to be a savior.
He alone won't fix what ails the Seahawks, who have lost two of their last three games, with the only victory during that stretch coming by a mere six points against the free-falling Carolina Panthers.
The Seattle offense has been held to 17 or fewer points in three of its last five games, and the banged-up defense has now surrendered 24 or more in four consecutive outings. They were the best home team in the NFC for the first seven seasons of quarterback Russell Wilson's career, but this year, they're just 4-3 with a minus-19 scoring margin and only one regulation victory by more than a single point at CenturyLink Field.
The Seahawks might have simply peaked too early. Wilson was once the MVP front-runner, but he's got a sub-90 passer rating in his last six games, and he hasn't rushed for 30 yards since the team's Week 11 bye.
Part of that had to do with the fact the running game really took off in October and November. Penny averaged 7.0 yards per carry in his last two games before going down with a torn ACL, while Carson rushed for 311 yards in his previous three affairs before suffering a season-ending hip injury.
Wilson will also apparently have to spend some more time without his left tackle, as Condotta reported that veteran Duane Brown will have knee surgery. Brown's replacement, Jamarco Jones, struggled mightily against the Cards, and Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll called Brown's injury "a couple-week deal" in the best-case scenario, according to Condotta.
Meanwhile, a good-not-great defense that got by mainly on takeaways in November and early December looks ripe to be exploited by more careful opponents in pivotal games. They generated 16 takeaways in a five-week stretch prior to Sunday's defeat at the hands of Arizona, which isn't sustainable no matter how opportunistic you are.
Throw in injuries to Jadeveon Clowney (core), Quandre Diggs (ankle) and Shaquill Griffin (hamstring), and the defense looks like more of a liability than an asset.
But even when healthy, Seattle doesn't have 49ers-level talent on either side of the ball. On paper, the 49ers and New Orleans Saints are objectively deeper and more skilled than the Seahawks, whose Super Bowl hopes have always depended on Wilson performing at an out-of-this-world level.
That's no longer happening, and it's a near-certainty that adding Lynch won't suddenly save a team that looks destined to fall well short in January.
Brad Gagnon has covered the NFL for Bleacher Report since 2012.