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June 12, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Some thoughts on Marshawn Lynch’s salary situation and possible holdout

The morning of Seattle’s last OTA has broken with nothing new on the Marshawn Lynch situation.

He’s still expected, according to and ESPN reports, to be mulling  skipping mini-camp next week because he wants a new contract. But as Pro Football Talk noted this morning, no one seems to really know for sure. Nobody has spoken on the record about it, one way or the other. One source indicated to the Times the same as PFT is reporting — that Lynch hasn’t told anyone connected with the Seahawks anything.

Maybe we will  hear something from the Seahawks on the record this afternoon as media will  be allowed to watch today’s OTA.

Still, the biggest new piece of this is that Lynch is apparently unhappy with his contract — up until  now, it had been thought that his skipping of OTAs was simply Lynch doing what he’s always done (he also skipped them a year ago).

Lynch’s possible unhappiness with his deal may come from realizing that the Seahawks may be looking to phase him out in 2015, a year when he will be 29 (and with Christine Michael and Robert Turbin in the fold as heir apparents), and also with the knowledge of how the Seahawks made tough, salary cap-related decisions this year with the likes of Red Bryant, Chris Clemons and Sidney Rice (as well as asking tight end Zach Miller to restructure his deal).

Lynch also saw the team hand extensions this season to Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman that now make Lynch the fifth-highest paid player on the team in terms of average salary per year behind Percy Harvin, Sherman, Thomas and Russell Okung.

Lynch has two years left on a four-year deal he signed in 2012, that could pay him as much as $30 million and with $17 million guaranteed.

However, as notes, all of the guaranteed money to Lynch has now been paid. Going forward, it’s all  about his base salaries — $5 million in 204 and $5.5 million in 2015 — and bonuses.

As OvertheCap details:

“In 2014 Lynch will earn $31,250 for each game in which he is active and in 2015 that number increases to $125,000 per game.” Lynch can also gain a $500,000 bonus for gaining 1,500 yards in 2015.

I asked Jason Fitzgerald of his thoughts on a possible Lynch hold out:

“I think it’s an understandable time for him to do this,” Fizgerald said. “He’ll be 29 next year and his contract is likely not going to stand as it is for 2015
making this a free-agent type year. He doesn’t have a better time to do this than now. He’s run for over 1,200 yards in each of the last three seasons and has been the most important player on the offense. By next season he’ll either be run into the ground with 300-plus carries or be splitting carries with a younger option. Either way, that doesn’t help him in free agency as the former makes him look like he’s ready to break down and the latter makes teams think the Seahawks saw a decline already. It’s a no-win situation. Approaching Seattle next year when he’ll be less important to the team and they will likely be working hard on a Russell Wilson extension and possibly a Russell Okung deal is a bad option.

“Two other players who come to mind that did similar things were Frank Gore and Thomas Jones, who were workhorses that saw the backend of the contracts
as unlikely. (Each had at least short-term holdouts — here’s details on Jones, and on Gore). Gore did get a slight raise with no guarantees. Jones was forced to play out the year and then was cut by the Jets the next year when his cap number and salary rose.

“I’d guess if Lynch could get a small raise for this year to push him into the top three in cash salary among running backs (he’s sixth this season) he would probably
accomplish his goal.”

So while may not know for sure if Lynch is holding out, it does seem apparent this is more than business-as-usual for one of the most mysterious men in the NFL.






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