Marshawn Lynch carried six times for 20 yards and caught two passes for 15 yards in Seattle’s 31-24 loss to Carolina on Sunday. It was a quiet game from a not-so-quiet player who has had quite a quiet season.
What are the chances that we’ve seen the last of Lynch in a Seahawks uniform?
“Pretty darn high,” Seattle Times Seahawks writer Bob Condotta said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I think everybody would be pretty surprised at this point if he’s back. With the contract he has, they can save $6.5 million against the cap by releasing him or trading him. He’s 30 years old and they now have a much younger, cheaper alternative in Thomas Rawls. The writing sort of seems to be on the wall there, I think.”
Lynch, who turns 30 in April, played in just seven games this season – this after playing in 15+ in each of the last four years. Lynch also averaged just 3.8 yards per carry, while Rawls averaged 5.6.
So, how much of this is about money, and how much of it is about having a younger, potentially better option in Rawls?
“Well, they’re sort of connected,” Condotta said. “Thomas Rawls, (by virtue of) being an undrafted free agent (and) this being his rookie season, (he’s under club control) for three more years (and) there’s not much of the salary there. So yeah, that’s a huge part of it, there’s no question. You see this all the time in the NFL. Running backs get to age 30 or so and if they’re making a lot of money – this is hardly an uncommon move the Seahawks would be making. I don’t think anybody really is expecting he’ll be back next year.”
It was an odd year for Seattle, which started 2-4 before winning eight of its final 10 games. The Seahawks, however, didn’t look great in either playoff game, squeaking by in Minnesota 10-9 before falling behind 31-0 in Carolina.
Will things return to normal this offseason for Seattle, or was this combustibility a sign of things to come?
“Teams change personnel-wise quite a bit each year, and I think they’re going to have quite a bit of personnel changes this year that will maybe make some of that irrelevant,” Condotta said. “But certainly they’ll have a number of key guys back: Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Bobby Wagner and guys like that. Obviously there will be a real core of players there. But nobody goes to the Super Bowl every single season. It’s a tough thing to do. The Seahawks did it two years in a row and obviously had a devastating loss last year against New England. Pete Carroll, when he met with us again today for the final time, said there was no doubt that it probably took a little bit of time to work past that. There’s a mental toll.
“There’s also a physical toll of playing that many games,” Condotta continued. “You’re playing 19 really rugged games two years in a row. Nobody played more games the last two years than the Seahawks. I think all of that certainly can maybe catch up to you a little bit, and their start this year was obviously influenced by not having Kam Chancellor for those first few games and everything that was going on with that as well. Then Marshawn Lynch got hurt pretty early in the season as well. They just had some things like that that just thinned the margin of error for this team this year, and other teams were able to take advantage.”