Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch skipped a trip to the White House to honor the Super Bowl Champions because he didn’t feel like going. He was absent from the team’s recent voluntary OTA workouts because he has his own conditioning plan. Not showing up for next week’s mandatory mini-camp is a real possibility for deeper reasons.
ESPN.com reported, quoting a source close to the situation, “it’s very,very unlikely” Lynch will be at mini-camp because he’s unhappy with his current contract and wants more upfront money.
There has been no official comment from the team, and all of the stories about a potential Lynch hold-out have not quoted anyone on the record.
Teammates don’t seem worried about the rumors and expect #24 to morph into “Beast Mode” when the 2014 season kicks off.
“Ah Marshawn’s not going to be here?” quipped center Max Unger. “I don’t know man, I better give him a call then. He’s got his own thing going on, but we’d love to have him. By no means will it change my view of him.”
What Unger knows all too well is that Lynch will deliver the goods when it counts. He’s been the work-horse identity of Seattle’s offense starting with his “Beast Quake” run against the New Orleans Saints nearly three years ago.
Lynch risks losing close to $70,000 in fines if he misses the mini-camp. Not speaking with the media nearly cost him $50,000 in NFL fines last season until he begrudgingly granted short-answer interviews with reporters during the playoffs.
With two years left on his four-year contract signed in March 2012, Marshawn is scheduled to make a base salary of $5 million this season, and $5.5 million in 2015. His deal counts $7 million towards the Seahawks’ 2014 salary cap, and $9 million the following year.
Seattle has capable runners behind Lynch in Robert Turbin, and last year’s top draft choice Christine Michael. Hawk’s offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said at the team’s annual Town Hall meeting they might go with a running-back-by-comittee approach this season. Bevell clarified the comment this week, saying he meant only in relation to the team’s current workouts, especially with Lynch not in attendance.
For all those reasons, there is plenty of speculation the Seahawks are prepared to part ways with the heart and soul of their rushing attack before the 2015 season. The Super Bowl champs made similar tough financial decisions this winter by releasing veteran defensive linemen Chris Clemons and Red Bryant, and renegotiating tight end Zach Miller’s contract.
Marshawn Lynch just turned 28, but his violent running style raises red flags for fans, and possibly the Seahawks about his productivity declining. He carried the football more than 300 times in the 2013 regular season for better than 1200 yards. That was down from 1590 yards on 315 carries the year before.
At the University of California, Lynch earned the nickname “Money”. It appears his ploy is to have the Seahawks pay him some of the 2015 money they owe him now. Seattle management might be willing to build a few more financial incentives into Lynch’s current deal, but moving several million into an upfront payment seems unlikely and sets dangerous precedent for other important players on the team.
Lynch should heed the advice of his own Beacon Plumbing commercials; Stop Freakin! Show up for practice, be Marshawn in the games, and help Seattle bring home another Lombardi trophy.
-Bill Swartz, 1090TheFan-
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