Face It 12s: A Future Without Marshawn Lynch Is Coming
Friday, December 05, 2014
To Beast or Not to Beast?
Even before the season began, the stories about Lynch were swirling. At the start of training camp, Beast Mode stayed in his cage, holding out from team activities for a new contract. Lynch did not get a new contract but did get additional financial considerations. Amidst all this, stories began to seep that Lynch had a negative relationship with team management.
Shortly after, persistent stories began to emerge, primarily from NFL Insider Ian Rappaport, that the 2014 season would be Lynch’s last with Seattle, despite having another year under contract. It even seems that theSeahawks may have attempted running their offense diminishing the role of Marshawn. After 6 games, the Seahawks were 3-3. The average number of rushing attempts by Beast Mode in the three wins: 21. In the three losses: just over 11.3. That means that Lynch had 50% less carries in Seahawk losses. It became evident that Seahawk success was tied to pounding the ball with Lynch. Since the rocky start, the Seahawks are 5-1. In those six games, Marshawn has averaged just over 19 carries per game.
Then, the narrative began to change. On November 20th and 21st, head coach Pete Carroll made multiple comments to the media that he would be thrilled to have Lynch running at the Clink in 2015. He even went so far as to say, “We’ll do everything to get that done.” However, the saga wasn’t over yet.
Deny Thy Skittles and Refuse Thy Paycheck?
After Thanksgiving, another repot from Ian Rappaport intimated that Lynch is strongly considering retirement at the end of the 2014 season. Similar stories came out during Lynch’s holdout but was mostly shrugged off as the talk during bargaining. The report surfacing as the Seahawks were on a roll, beating the rival San Francisco Santa Clara 49ers, is more concerning. The reports indicated that Beast Mode was concerned about his health. Although he has only missed one game in the past four seasons, he has been dealing with chronic back pain and perhaps giving him a glimpse of the effects of his particularly violent style of running might have on him long term.
Of course, the report also mentioned one more option out there for Lynch: following offensive line coach Tom Cable to another team, if Cable landed a head coaching job (there are certain to be vacancies coming up soon). All told, one thing is pretty certain: the future of Marshawn Lynch, as we know it in Seattle, is not likely to be long.
Something Wicked This Way Comes
The writing may not be on the wall but Lynch’s departure is beyond plausible. Keeping Beast Mode in Seattle in 2015 will cost the Seahawks a $9 million cap hit, a hefty price tag for a running back who will be closing in on 30 during the season. Add on top of that the hefty contract that most certainly will be coming to quarterback Russell Wilson and cap space could be pretty limited for the Seahawks. And this is all assuming Marshawn Lynch, ever the befuddling type, does not up and retire at season’s end.
Even for the optimistic, there is a harsh reality coming on: Father Time. 2015 will be Lynch’s last season before turning 30. There seems to be a pretty severe downturn when backs hit the mythical three-decade mark. As well as Marshawn has been running this season, the dropoff for backs seemingly comes out of nowhere. Even if Lynch plays for Seattle in 2015, his performance will have to begin dwindling shortly after.
That leaves Seahawks fans forced to confront a harsh reality: the team’s identity will have to change or at least find a new face. Robert Turbin and Christine Michael have been highly touted but have shown little more than glimpses to emerge from the shadow of the mammoth Beast. It is already rumored, indeed expected, for the Seahawks to look at fortifying the position in the draft, with Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon being the perceived cream of the crop.
As much as fans should be enjoying a thrilling conclusion to the season, the front office needs to be preparing for a team without Marshawn Lynch. We can all hope that we won’t be left saying: “A Beast! A Beast! My kingdom for a Beast!”
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