Marshawn Lynch is a soft-spoken individual (if outspoken at all) and with all the head-on collisions that often result in beast-quakes and tremors, one may think he is just a hard-headed running back who’s lost his marbles.
For instance his contract disputes this offseason seem very out of the blue for a guy set to make the 5th-highest paycheck for RB’s in 2014 ($5 million) and even more in 2015. The talk recently has been that Lynch is considering retirement if the Seattle Seahawks don’t renegotiate to give him more money up front. He has said he sees it as “a sign of respect”, but as I eluded to in my ‘winners and losers of the Seahawk offseason‘, there is more to see here.
He can say that the he’s looking for respect and appreciation, but this is obviously a situation where Marshawn is unsure if he wants to continue playing beyond that so he’s asking for the bulk of his salary right now.
After some consideration and more reading (there was another awesome article on this situation at Field Gulls), I realized something even bigger is playing a part here. Marshawn is smart enough to understand that he may very well be a salary cap casualty in 2015. You can clearly see at Spotrac.com that his contract was set up in such a way that they could live with cutting him in 2015 if they needed the money elsewhere.
They’ll need to dump only $1.5 million to cut him and chances are they wouldn’t be able to find a trade partner at such high value. Russell Wilson will be a pricey priority next season and saving a $9 million cap hit would go a long ways towards securing the quarterback of the future. Therefore Lynch wants to try and salvage the bulk of that money right now, while the Hawks still need him and more appropriately, can afford to keep him.
And yes, the Seahawks still want, and need Marshawn Lynch. You don’t just replace the number two statistical-ranking back in all of football in a season. His production in the red zone is second to none and that’s a huge reason for Seattle’s success these past two seasons.
Also, Lynch realizes that his production is going to go down almost without fail this upcoming season. The Seahawks have already noted designed plans for a two-headed monster attack instead of the featured-back deal. That will increase his NFL lifespan as Christine Michael takes a load off his back (literally, as Lynch has consistently struggled through back pain throughout his career) throughout the season, but it also means Beast Mode becomes less valuable on the open market moving forward. Most teams have implemented a two-back system at this point, so he may not have been a very big fish in the pond anyway.
The only problem is, after dumping another $2 million into their defensive line by grabbing Kevin Williams just a couple days ago, the Seahawks likely used up the last of their resources to better the roster. His requests are valid though. He has performed at an elite level these past two seasons, the only RB who can claim better production is Adrian Peterson. So Lynch is asking for what Ian Rapoport believes to be in the range of $1.5 to 3 million, which would bump him into the number two or three spot on the league pay sheet at his position.
It’s a very heady move by Lynch, but I doubt the Seahawks will succumb to the pressure of retirement threats. Lynch is not in a great position to make the move just yet, as not only would he forgo at least the $5 million of this season, but he would also have to pay back a good chunk of what he’s already made.
Reports have been rampant that the Beast will skip training camp next week, but I expect him to be in attendance. What do you think 12’s?