Despite several recognizable names available, it’s been a quiet free-agent season for this year’s crop of veteran running backs.

Let’s keep it that way, shall we.

Every offseason, NFL general managers and their front-office staffs treat the two main player-acquiring windows – free agency and the draft – as completely separate events. Oftentimes, money is wasted in free agency on veterans whose reputations precede them when there are affordable, quality options available in the draft.

With an excellent group of runners set to come out of the 2017 NFL Draft and no must-have options on the free-agent market, there’s no need for teams to jump out of their seats to give a veteran back a multi-million-dollar contract.

There could be as many as four running backs drafted in the first round, with plenty more to come off the board in the following rounds. Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, and Alvin Kamara could all go in the first 32 picks, while potential star Joe Mixon will likely be selected on Day 2 due to his past legal troubles.

After the top group of runners, there are several well-accomplished college stars – Samaje Perine, D’Onta Foreman, James Conner, Donnel Pumphrey, and Kareem Hunt – who could continue their success as pros on cheap rookie contracts.

The Seahawks seem to be the most active team in the running back market at the moment, lining up visits with Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Eddie Lacy, and Latavius Murray. The problem with the Seahawks running game lies more within their sub-par offensive line than their lack of productive runners. It doesn’t hurt to take a look at the options, but unless they find something other teams didn’t see before, these visits should be nothing more than a kick of the tires.

The four running backs mentioned above, along with LeGarrette Blount, are the premier free-agent rushers available, though none are guaranteed to be of any help to new teams.

Peterson, 31, and Charles, 30, are both coming off major injuries that aren’t the first of their careers. Both former All-Pros will be in search of decently lucrative contracts, given their reputations, but may be one cut on poor field conditions away from ending their seasons.

While they don’t have the age bias against them at 27 and 26, respectively, Murray and Lacy have question marks when it comes to their expected production. Lacy is coming off a bad season, rushing for just 360 yards through five games. He could be the most affordable option of the group, however his well-documented weight issues may scare off suitors altogether. Murray had decent production in Oakland last season, but most of that has been credited to their outstanding offensive line. Wherever he goes next needs to have a solid set of blockers for him to be productive, which should take the Seahawks out of contention.

Blount is also 30 years old, but his limited use between 2012-2014 has kept the power back spry longer than expected. Blount has a similar issue to Murray as he was blessed with a perfect situation with the Patriots last season. Blount ran in an NFL-high 18 touchdowns in 2016, however that production will be tough to repeat if he doesn’t return to the Patriots, who allowed him to plunge in nine 1-yard scores last season. If New England wants to settle for another year of Blount and focus elsewhere at the draft, that’s fine, but both parties surely know his best option is to take whatever the Patriots are offering. Taking a power runner like Foreman or Conner in the fourth or fifth round could fill that role for New England for much cheaper, though.

The approximately two-month period between free agency and the draft should not be seen by teams as lost time for running backs. While they won’t be able to partake in April OTAs, it shouldn’t take long for running backs to figure out a new system as long as they’re staying in shape. It’s hard to mess up a hand-off.

There are a few teams who could really use star running backs. The Vikings, Colts, Jaguars, Giants, and Packers could drastically improve their Super Bowl chances with a runner who can control the clock and take the punishment that comes with 25 touches per game – too bad none of the mentioned backs fill those needs.

It’s proven difficult for anyone in the NFL to stay patient (aside from Le’Veon Bell), so playing the waiting game for this long may be a lot to ask, but no team will fold because they didn’t sign Peterson, Charles, Murray, Lacy, or Blount. However, they may be kicking themselves for a decade if they choose to preemptively pass on talents like Fournette or Cook to sign a 30-year-old to a $6-million contract.

No need to rush.

(Photos courtesy: Action Images)