Mike Sando: The Seahawks will probably want to see how their running backs perform during training camp and the exhibition season before determining how many they need and which ones will play. White would be my early choice to start. Washington's ability to return from a broken leg is another key variable. The team thinks Washington has a chance to be ready for training camp, but coach Pete Carroll said the Seahawks will not rush him.
Jones' status does appear somewhat tenuous. His $2.45 million salary is highest on the team among running backs. That number is far from prohibitive, however. White and Washington have $1.759 million salaries. Forsett's salary is $475,000.
It is conceivable that Seattle could keep Washington, White, Jones and Forsett. I haven't seen two fullbacks demanding roster spots. Seattle will use two tight ends a fair amount.
Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates runs a version of Mike Shanahan's offense, so I went back through some of the Denver Broncos' opening-week rosters to see how many running backs they typically kept, and how many of those were fullbacks.
Shanahan's teams kept one or two fullbacks and three or four running backs on their opening-week rosters from 2004 through 2008, his final five seasons with the Broncos. Of the fullbacks, Kyle Johnson was the only traditional blocking specialist. Others, such as Peyton Hillis and Cecil Sapp, showed they could carry the ball as well. Seattle doesn't have fullbacks in that mold (insert Leonard Weaver reference here).
Reuben Droughns was considered a fullback at one point, but he became a 1,000-yard rusher, so I counted him as a running back. Also, running back Mike Bell played some at fullback. Again, the Seahawks do not have those types of combination backs.
Bates was on those Shanahan staffs beginning in 2006.
For Seattle, competition is the important theme in the short term.