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Beast Mode has yet to report to Seattle Seahawks training camp because of what we believe to be is an attempt to earn a new deal from the organization.
Unfortunately, Marshawn Lynch is barking up the wrong tree.
Lynch is playing a game of chicken with an organization that has made its living by grooming superstars through the draft and building depth so that it doesn’t have to overpay superstars on the free-agent market.
Lynch, 28, is entering the second year of a four-year, $31 million deal he signed back in March 2012, which contained $17 million in guaranteed money. The running back is set to make $5 million in salary, plus another $500,000 in per-game bonuses, as well as upwards of $7.5 million in 2015.
There is no denying that Lynch has been the straw that stirs the Seahawks offense the past three years. Since acquiring the embattled back from Buffalo, Lynch has averaged about 1,200 yards per season with a combined 45 touchdowns. And let’s not understate that the Seahawks’ power rushing attack sets up what Russell Wilson does best: the play-action passing game.
But while Lynch may want a new contract, I believe this stems from a fear that he may no longer be with the team beyond this or next season. Lynch will be 30 the next time he becomes a free agent, and as we saw this offseason, there is no market for 30-year-old running backs with a lot tread on their tires.
Nobody is saying Lynch can be easily replaced, but this entire offseason, it’s been his backup, second-year player Christine Michael, garnering all of the hype as a future NFL star.
Because Lynch fears his career will be over after 2014-15 or when his contract expires after next season, he wants to cash in now. The best-case scenario for him is to get a two- or three-year extension, a little bit of a pay bump and he can head off into the sunset without any regrets. Or perhaps Lynch wants to force Seattle’s hand with hopes the team will release him so he can cash in somewhere else.
Well, don’t expect the Seahawks to bend. The organization has shown no signs of caving when it comes to dealing with a player holding out. Seahawks general manager John Schneider told The Seattle Times that the team has no intention to stray away with their plans.
“You know, no. Everybody loves Beast Mode. We love him and respect the guy. I think what he’s done in this community, for this franchise, is outstanding. It’s one of those deals where you can never get inside somebody’s head. We’re just going with our plan, and I know it’s cliché-ish but next man up. We’ve had a plan in place here for a number of years, and we can’t veer from that plan for one person because it’s the ultimate team sport.”
Schneider then hinted that if Lynch wants to move on, there’s already a replacement in place.
“…Last year we went through this with Brandon Browner. He had his deal, and (Byron Maxwell) got his opportunity. Hey, Marshawn Lynch is phenomenal. Phenomenal player and just a unique part of what we’ve had going on here. Two years ago we were able to redo his deal, and he was a big part of that foundation that we started here.”
Michael is ready to step in as the starting back. He fits the mold of what the organization does — give a draft pick an opportunity, then reward them once they prove their value. Lynch proved his value and was already rewarded; he just wants more assurance he’ll remain in the Pacific Northwest beyond next season and continue to get a paycheck.
Unfortunately for Lynch, in this game of chess the Seahawks already have Lynch’s queen. Every day Lynch holds out, he’s inching closer and closer to being checkmated.
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