Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch wears a beast mode outfit as he celebrates in the locker room after Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Seahawks News: Fear of Being Cut May Be Driving Marshawn Lynch Contract Dispute

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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?

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Tags: Marshawn Lynch Seattle Seahawks

  • ecointeractive

    They should throw him a bone now while they can afford it……..

  • Julie

    Agree, Beast has produced and part of what got us to this point. Hawks should consider talking to him, he’s worth giving a little extra appreication to.

    • Paddy

      I’d rather win long term. If giving him more now impacts the team being able to resign one of the upcoming younger players or prevents them from making a Kevin Williams type signing next year to help fill in gaps, I’d rather tell Lynch sorry. I definitely don’t blame him for what he’s doing though. Just like teams can easily break contracts by cutting players, players deserve the right to try and lock up more guaranteed money.

  • FesterFoot43

    Realism dictates that they pay him a little more this year because next year he’s not going to be the same guy and they’ll cut him for that reason or simply because he’ll be a salary cap and Christine Michael will be gunning. That’s only natural. I used to be a pretty good cyclist, but as I get older I lose some of that old speed and stamina.

  • Trakar

    Before someone becomes a “cut risk” doesn’t the team have to have a replacement on roster? Frankly, I don’t see one,…in fact, I don’t see any 3 running backs on the roster being able to replace 1 Lynch. Turbin should have been cut last year and probably won’t make the cut this year. CM may be able to give 24 some breathing time in between plays every now and again, but simply can’t fill Marshawn’s shoes when it comes to taking care of everything other than running the ball that Marshawn does for the Seattle offense (and defense).

    • Paddy

      Lynch is a special talent, but how do you know what the team has in C. Michael? Turbin shouldn’t have been cut because he was the 2nd best back on the roster last year and is probably still the 3rd best at least. Why cut a relatively high draft pick from a couple years ago while still on a rookie contract?

      The Seahawks will need a RB capable of picking up 1000+ rushing yards a season to keep their identity. Perhaps Michael is that guy, but we won’t know until we get deeper into this season (give him a shot?). This is essentially Lynch’s final year of his contract and he knows that. There’s no way with the incoming contracts the Seahawks will be able to pay him 9M next year (Wilson, Wright, Smith, Maxwell etc. etc.). That’s why he’s either going for more money this year or will need to try to find a way to spread the money owed next year into another season for more guaranteed money. It’s definitely all about the guaranteed and right now he is only guaranteed 3M in the next 2 years.

      • Trakar

        Turbin has reached his potential, and frankly that potential isn’t worth a roster spot on this team. Michael still has some upside, but at this point he is not even close to Lynch’s potential in running the ball yet alone all the other things that Seattle expects from their RBs. He needs to get some back-up time this year and we will get a good feel for his ceiling and his durability. He might work himself into a starting position in a few years, or at least provide decent trade bait. As for Lynch’s contract, for what he provides, he is a bargain, when his performance drops then we can talk about finding a replacement, but I don’t think we’ll find one on the current roster. Marshawn is a bargain at his base salary (and total cap hit) over the next two years being $10.5M ($11.5M) with an incentive bonus if he tops 1500yds.

        • Paddy

          He is a bargain at the moment, but it’s not like he’s not getting paid. He’ll be getting 7M this year and he’s due 9M next, which he most likely won’t get since he’ll be approaching 30.

          Who takes Turbin’s roster spot on the team? He isn’t even getting paid 700k this year. There is Ware, Small, Coleman type RB’s on the roster, but none are at Turbin’s level. At worst, he’s the 3rd best RB on the team. On a team that has a heavy emphasis on running the ball, the 3rd best more than deserves a roster spot.

          • Trakar

            Turbin isn’t even fifth best running back on this team, remember an RB in Seattle does a lot more than run the football, and when they do run, they shouldn’t hit the ground when a stiff breeze hits them.

  • Steve Speidel

    Pay The Man.
    Without Beast Mode, no Super Bowl last year and likely no repeat next. They should have done this earlier in the off season. Give him a million if we go to the Super Bowl, two million if we win. That’ll motivate him.

    • Paddy

      It’s a nice thought, but is that the business model the team wants or should they pay based on where they think a player’s production will be in the next year or two? If the Seahawks bend too much, it will tell players they can do that in the future. What way when Sherman gets angry about Peterson making more money, he’ll think it’s alright to go after the Seahawks to bump his salary up in a couple years. That’s the reason the Seahawks imploded the couple years after the SB (2005 season). They were paying a bunch of aging players big bucks instead of trying to keep a level of youth on the team. I trust PC/JS along with Paul Allen backup will make the best overall long term choice here.

  • Paddy

    Lynch is the man and I’ll never forget his contributions in making the Seahawks a blast to watch, but I think the Seahawks should tread carefully here. A good front office will no the difference between what a player has done and what they’ll probably do in the future. At the same time, they’ll want to maintain a good relationship with the players, so they’ll need to be open and transparent with their plans and what they can do. I’m sure they already have a pretty solid idea at what they think the RB position will look like in the next couple years. A lot will come down to whether or not they’re truly expecting Michael to tear things up.

  • johntheonly

    I would give him an extra 1M this year with an option to give him more guaranteed cash based on performance. Next year, I would agree with him to cut his salary to 3M, but all would be guaranteed. I wonder if he thinks that would be a good deal for him….numbers aside, the idea of more guaranteed this year, and a less overall next year, but more of it guaranteed, if that is what would do it.