On the eve of teams being able to negotiate with free agents, the first big domino to fall in the market has been dropped. Per ESPNs Adam Schefter, the Packers have re-signed Aaron Jones – the consensus top running back in free agency – to a four-year, $48 million contract with a $13 million signing bonus. For the Seahawks, this drops their already unlikely chances of retaining running back Chris Carson to nearly zero percent. With Jones back in Green Bay, Carson appears to be the clear-cut top back on the market and should receive a ton of interest over the next few days. . . Although the value of running backs has diminished in recent years, Carson is one of the few ball-carriers in todays NFL whose talent transcends the expected production and contributions of an average back. Hes a rare specimen who boasts the physicality and decisiveness to excel in the trenches, as well as the quickness and elusiveness to get out on the edge and make defenders miss in open space. . . Through his four years with the Seahawks, Carson averaged 4. 6 yards per carry for a total of 3,270 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground. He also became more of a threat in the passing game each year, logging 775 yards and seven scores on 101 receptions. The one knock on Carsons record is the injury history. He suffered a gruesome ankle injury just four weeks into his rookie season, made it back to full health the next year as he led a league-leading rushing attack, then wound up returning to the injury report each of the next two seasons with a fractured hip in 2019 and a foot sprain in 2020. This will likely keep him from scratching the surface of the $12 million annual salary Jones just earned, but a lucrative contract should still be in Carsons near future. Both Carson and Jones entered the league at the same time and, when you look at the numbers, theyre not too far off from one another in terms of production. . Jones does hold a slight edge in most categories and its not even close from a touchdown perspective, but Carson has played in nine less games. This is yet another negative effect of his poor injury history, but it ultimately proves that whichever team lands him may be in line for a steal when compared to the contract Jones just signed. . . That team, however, will not be the Seahawks. With just $17. 1 million in cap space at the moment and a laundry list of other needs theyll have to eventually address, spending $9-11 million on a running back – no matter how good Carson is – is just not something they can afford. Even if his market crashes into the $6-8 million range, that would still likely be too rich for the Seahawks blood. Following the Jones news, however, Carson should be set for a big payday this week. Hell be able to start formally speaking with teams starting tomorrow at 1. 00 p. m. PST, so Seahawks fans should prepare to bid farewell to their star running back if they havent already.