Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch isn’t your ordinary player. As a matter of fact, he’s one of the more mysterious figures in sports. He skipped out on the team’s celebratory visit to the White House this year because, according to his mother, he just “didn’t want to go.” Seems fair enough.
He was fined $50,000 last season for not talking to the media, as mandated by the league. Maybe he is shy? Now, for the eighth year in a row, he’s skipped out on offseason voluntary workouts and will possibly be holding out of camp.
Lynch is apparently unhappy with his existing contract and wants to restructure with more guaranteed upfront money. At 28 years old, Lynch is the fifth-highest paid running back in the league and is beginning the third year of a four-year deal worth $30 million, including $6 million in signing bonuses. His bruising style of running was a big part of Seattle’s championship season in 2013, rushing for over 1200 yards and totaling 14 TDs.
Since the Super Bowl, the Seahawks have signed huge contract extensions to cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas. Sherman’s deal, worth $57.4 million over four years, with $40 million guaranteed, makes him the highest paid corner in the league. Thomas inked a $40 million extension with over $27 million guaranteed. Now it seems like Lynch is wanting to be rewarded in a similar fashion.
Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell recently said they will be utilizing more of second-year pro Christine Michael, which could mean splitting carries with Lynch. “We are going to be running back by committee," Bevell said at a Seahawks town hall event. "We really like what Christine Michael is doing right now." Robert Turbin should also see his share of work, as well.
Although neither the team nor Lynch have commented officially, skipping mandatory camp could prove costly for him. According to the new collective bargaining agreement, if Lynch misses all three days of camp he could be subject to nearly $70,000 in fines.
The pass-happy nature of the league these days might not bode well for Lynch’s contract negotiations. And if the 2014 draft is any indication, the running back position seems to be a diminishing role. This was the second straight year that none were taken in the first round, something that has never happened before in NFL history. No running backs were even invited to attend this year’s draft in person.
Can Lynch remain productive as he approaches 29 years of age? Would the Seahawks be willing to restructure his contract? And, more importantly, will minicamp be running in full “Beastmode” with the inclusion of Lynch?