BY Steve Rudman 11:42AM 06/13/2014

Should the Seahawks re-do Lynch’s deal?

Marshawn Lynch will reportedly boycott mini camp next week in pursuit of a new contract. Should he get it? Should the Seahawks just say no? Vote here.

Marshawn Lynch wants a new deal after helping the Seahawks win Super Bowl XLVIII. He is the league’s top-producing back since 2011. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Except for the May parade through downtown Seattle, during which he entertained hundreds of thousands of gawkers by tossing bags of Skittles from the hood of a vehicle, Marshawn Lynch has had nothing to do with the Seahawks since their Super Bowl rout of the Denver Broncos.

He predictably missed a series of organized team activities at the Virginia Mason Atheltic Center that ended Thursday. Before that, he spurned a visit with his teammates to the White House, where President Obama commented on his no-show.

When the Seahawks gather for a mini-camp next week at the VMAC, Lynch is expected to miss the three-day session even though his appearance is mandatory. If Lynch skips, the Seahawks can – and likely will – fine him up to $70,000, adding to the dissatisfaction he already harbors.

Reportedly unfulfilled with a contract he signed in 2011, after he arrived in Seattle in a trade from Buffalo, Lynch presumably seeks more than the $5 million he is scheduled to earn in 2014 and the $5.5 million due him in 2015. Specifically, he wants more cash now rather than later – because there probably isn’t going to be a later.

If Lynch, now days past his 28th birthday, honors the deal, he will be 30 the next time he is free to negotiate an extension. He is more likely to become a salary cap casualty before that occurs, meaning that the $5.5 million due him in 2015 might as well not exist.

Things may not get that far. NFL.com insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that a source close to him said that Lynch could be considering retirement. The source told Rapoport that Lynch has saved his money and that “retirement thought is real” and “I could see him walking away.”

If these are Lynch’s sentiments, they sound  like a smokescreen. On the other hand, this is Marshawn Lynch we’re talking about. The guy could do anything.

Lynch has averaged 300 carries and 1,363 yards per season during his time with the Seahawks, with a high of 315/1,590 in 2012. Lynch has 1,753 carries through age 27, ranking 20th on a list of 26 players with at least 1,700 through that age.

Of the 23 whose careers are in the books, 15 never had a 1,300-yard season after turning 30 – seven never had a 1,000-yard year after 30 — and only three had two or more. The list:

Player Team No. Skinny
Walter Payton Bears 4 Two 1,500-yard seasons (1984-85) after 30
Curtis Martin Jets 2 1,697 yards and 12 TDs at age 31 in 2004
Emmitt Smith Cowboys 2 1,397 yards and 11 TDs at age 30 in 1999
Barry Sanders Lions 1 1,491 yards and 4 TDs at age 30 in 1998
Corey Dillon Patriots 1 1,635 yards and 12 TDs at age 30 in 2004

Put another way, for Lynch to play out his current deal and then convince the Seahawks that he will remain an elite back after 30, he will have to convince them he has the staying power of the men on the above list and won’t join Eric Dickerson, Earl Campbell, Jerome Bettis, Eddie George, Franco Harris and Shaun Alexander, all of whom, for one reason or another, started to wink out at 30.

That won’t be an easy sell.

The Seahawks are well aware of the expiration dates for running backs – and so is Lynch, which is why he wants his money now before his comes due.

But should the Seahawks meet his demands? And given the salary-cap restrictions, can they meet them?

The Seahawks parted ways in March with several significant players, WR Golden Tate, DEs Chris Clemons and Red Bryant, and OT Breno Giacomini among them, in order to free up money to pay Richard Sherman $56 million over four years and S Earl Thomas $40 million over four. And they have QB Russell Wilson at $20 million per year coming up in the next year.

But in the short term, can the Seahawks afford not to pay? Their offense runs through Lynch, who has not only produced more touchdowns (39) and 100-yard rushing games (19) since 2011 than any NFL back, but is the best runner in the league in yards gained after contact.

Any successful defense of the Super Bowl would have to involve another productive year out of Lynch — or a change in offensive philosophy, or a move to a “running back by committee” approach suggested recently by offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who quickly backed off that comment.

But renegotiating Lynch’s deal now, if it’s even possible, would set a precedent the Seahawks do not want to set.  So, what to do?


YourThoughts

  • RadioGuy

    The Seahawks should absolutely NOT renegotiate Marshawn Lynch’s contract. It was more than fair at the time he signed it and both sides assumed a degree of risk when they signed it. Besides, it’s not as though he’ll have to stand in line for dinner at the Union Gospel Mission under the present terms.

    Besides, suppose Lynch had a stinkeroo season in 2013: Would the team have been justified in demanding to renegotiate a shorter contract for less pay (including a partial return of his guaranteed money from the current deal)?

    • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

      If those were the Terms of any players contract?Percy Harvin would have been giving a wheelbarrow of cash back to the Hawks last year with his limited play/production. But little is fair in the NFL.
      Lynch was as instrumental as any in getting the Hawks through a record setting season and the ultimate prize. I would not be drop to my knees shocked if they do give him a million or 2 more to keep this thing from going double drama and move to stop the bleeding/ensuring that the Hold out does not reach the opener.
      Fair or not …there is way too much chemistry/continuity to be lost for John/Pete to not at least consider it(should) they find Lynch still in California upon the conclusion of preseason. If it were me i would be stubborn as hell in parlaying the message that you have gotten a fortune already from us Marshawn…go sell a few more Beast mode shirts…skittles and plumbing wares and be happy with what you got . I’m just one opinion.
      None of us have decision pull…. I don’t ask Paul Allen to sign the Checks.
      Lets hope the team doesn’t suffer from the insanity. Go Hawks.

      • RadioGuy

        I was being facetious in that last paragraph, Dave. I LIKE Marshawn and he’s not doing something that’s never been done before, but I think we both agree that a signed contract means that both sides are supposed to honor it.

        To be fair, that should also mean that an NFL team must pay the entire amount they agreed to unless they can trade the player involved. Otherwise, why have multiyear deals at all when one party can demand renegotiation with the threat of not playing (a la Gus Williams and the Sonics) while the other party can get out of paying it by simply releasing the player? What is the word of either side really worth?

        • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

          True. And it is disheartening that it looked like Seattle was going to portray the ultimate environment going into this new season…no major drama…no grumbling about who didnt get his slice of the pie. Everybody’s under contract and good , right?Perhaps we might have seen the writing on the wall with all of this running back by committee jargon that ESPN has been beating a dead horse with. We do have capable back ups but who really wants to see this messy situation play out? Maybe in the end ‘Shawn” wakes up one morning and realizes his word is still his word….we can only hope.

          • Dan the Man

            Resign him to a 1-year deal at $10,000,000 and then let him become a FA next year (as we all know he was going to be anyway). His value to the team exceeds Sherman’s so far, but will not in the future. Pay the man for 1 great year, then cut ties and move on to the future (it will be Spencer Ware’s job in 2015 and not Turbo or Christie).

          • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

            So Lynch’s agent is a guy named Dan the Man? Beast speaks to the Media so little we all learn about ML on the Fly….and speaking of Fly?If Percy (again)kicks ass on those fly sweeps like we saw in the Play offs/SuperBowl? We might be really seeing running back by committee like Bevell originally discussed. Harvin lined up at Running Back a number of times for the Vikings. Once Marshawn really is in the history books i would expect the(strictly) one back Seattle offense will be a thing of the past , too. BTW Dan? ESPN would have a field day with (the Hawks poor judgement) ..10m given out to a mere running back in todays market for that position….. With Beast scurrying to get off of the streets of N. Cali to get up here….Except Marshawn would immediately go on the IR having snapped his wrist reaching for that contract pen much too quickly. Sigh…that Madden curse will have fired its first salvo.

  • Jamo57

    To the ‘A deal is a deal’ crowd, so I guess that means the Seahawks should honor each and every contract they sign a player to, to the last day and the last dollar of the contract? Come on back, Big Red! Zack Miller, here’s your original salary back! The fact is, deals are not deals in the NFL and everyone knows it.

  • poulsbogary

    Wow, and to think all was good and hunky dory back on that cold sunny February day when he was riding atop that humvee beating on that drum.

  • Matt712

    Guaranteed money is a risk. But teams don’t guarantee contracts in their entirety, and they are way better off for it. Therefore, Marshawn has as much right to renegotiate based on elite performance as the Seahawks do to cut him based on declining performance. I say feed the beast; he’s earned it. Lynch fighting for an extra yard is as close to a guarantee as it gets in the NFL.

  • Bayview Herb

    5 million isn’t chump change. Even if the club was willing to pay him more, and up front, He may only have one year left. He’s got a lot of miles on him. If he welches, let him retire.

  • jafabian

    Nope. No renegotiation. If he’s so worried come back and break all of Eric Dickerson’s and Adrian Petersen’s records. Hold outs never gain anything. Holding out now when Turbin and Michael are waiting isn’t smart either.

  • BurienBrian

    NFL teams tear up contracts all the time. This guy carried us out of football helland defined the heart of the Seahawks. Jumping on him is just trollism

  • Jeff

    It should be pointed out that this year, Marshawn has the $1.5m share of a $6m signing bonus and a $500k roster bonus on top of the $5m base. He also gets special treatment no other player on the roster gets in terms of not practicing, not attending OTAs, and not talking to media, since the latter impacts the value of his services for being a sports entertainer to the franchise, should ding his value to the team.