In response to Marshawn Lynch’s recent arrest, Gregg Rosenthal at NFL.com is calling into question the Seahawks’ resigning of Lynch which guarantees him $18 million, and is worth up $31 million over four years. Lynch’s off-field issues are common knowledge to anybody that follows the NFL and I have no doubt the Seahawks took that into account when negotiating. My main issue with Rosenthal’s argument is that the running backs that he compares Lynch to are all either still under contract, or were never going to be available to the Seahawks anyway. Ray Rice will eventually be given an extension by Baltimore. Forte was finally given an extension with the Bears.
If you compare Arian Foster’s 2011 stats with Lynch’s they are pretty damn close. Lynch garnered 1,204 yards on 285 attempts, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. Foster got 1,224 yards on 278 carries for an average of 4.4 yards per carry. Lynch got twelve touchdowns to Foster’s ten. Foster averaged about 14 more yards a game than Lynch, 94.2 to 80.3. Overall, I’d say those stats are pretty comparable. LeSean McCoy’s stats are also in the same ballpark. Bottom line, Lynch is a lower top-tier running back and is being paid accordingly.
If Rosenthal somehow thinks Seattle had a shot at getting another top-tier running back through free agency or the draft, then I’d like to hear it. Trent Richardson was gone long before Seattle got a pick in the draft. Seattle isn’t hurting for cap-room. Yes, it will hurt a lot if Lynch is suspended but it was still the best move for Seattle to make in the off-season and calling the signing “questionable” makes me question Rosenthal’s brain. I still think the contract given to Lynch was fair and the right move.
I would also like to point out that Lynch was arrested and reportedly tested over the legal limit but has yet to be formally charged. I can’t say I haven’t worried about what this will mean for both the Seahawks and Lynch, who is a player I like both on and off the field, but it’s important to make sure we have all the facts before losing ourselves and making all kinds proclamations.
Also, some context on what I know from living in San Francisco for five years and Lynch’s home area. I do not condone driving while drunk in any way, but I do think there is a difference between 0.08 and something like 0.15. All we know at this point is that it was over 0.08, but not by how much. Secondly, Lynch was arrested on I-880 which would could indicate that he was probably somewhere near his home-area in Oakland which is really poor and, for lack of a better word, sketchy. I don’t know if he was actually there, but if he was I can tell you that the odds of getting a cab or limo in certain parts of Oakland, no matter who you are, are slim, and closer to none. Not to mention, bay area cab drivers are notorious for not responding to pick-ups, and refusing to drive to your requested location for various, usually bogus, reasons. I have first-hand experience in that regard.
Anyway, obviously details are yet to be filled in and I am hoping for the best, but I hope that at least some color might have been filled in before people throw around judgement.
In other, slightly ironic, news, Jason Kidd, who is also an Oakland area native and Cal grad, was also arrested a couple days ago for exactly the same thing.
Update: I spoke with my dad after this post and he mentioned something about a car service the NFL provides to players free of charge and that for some reason Lynch didn’t call it. I looked into this and apparently players are very skeptical of this service and don’t like to use it because it has been used against them in contract negotiations. This has been reported on as recently as a month ago and for the last few years at least.
For Goodell, who has a tendency to be sanctimonious as hell, and after sending out a letter specifically about DUIs to players, it seems like he would correct this if he was really concerned about players, DUIs, and the league’s image. The player car service is a great idea, but it should be anonymous and players should in no way be penalized for being responsible and using it. An easy fix which begs the question, why won’t the NFL change it?