When the Seahawks begin training camp tomorrow, running back Marshawn Lynch is expected to be absent.
That’s according to former Seahawk Michael Robinson, who is now a commentator on the NFL Network and said on-air moments ago that Lynch will hold out.
“Marshawn Lynch just called me, we just talked,” Robinson said. “He said he will be holding out from training camp this year with the Seahawks.” (Here is the video).
Lynch (above in a Dean Rutz photo) has two years remaining on a four-year deal worth up to $30 million and reportedly wants to get some more upfront money with the knowledge that he could be released after this season and not receive the money on the final year of his deal. He would be due for $5.5 million in 2014.
Robinson, asked what Lynch wants, said “I really think he just wants his position in the organization and how they view him, he just wants that recalibrated a little bit.”
A source confirms Lynch is at risk of being fined $30,000 per day and after five days he could partially forfeit a $6 million signing bonus.
It’s not expected that the team is willing to re-do his contract, not wanting to set the precedent of ripping up existing contracts. It’s thought the team has told Lynch it has no plans to re-do his deal.
Robinson, who has been one of Lynch’s closest friends, told local media in June that Lynch did have concerns about his contract, which is why he had contemplated holding out of mini-camp. He reported then, however, avoiding a fine of roughly $70,000.
“The guy has been the face of this franchise since the day he stepped in that door — it’s been Beast Mode,” Robinson said. “Just from my knowledge of it, he has been the face of the franchise, (coach) Pete (Carroll) (general manager) John (Schneider) have made no qualms about saying that. And he’s (Lynch) just like ‘I just want to be paid like it.’ I think the devaluation of the (running) back doesn’t help his case, the fact that he has two years let on his deal doesn’t help his case, which I’ve expressed to him.
“The fact that the biggest free agent running back signing got $3.5 million a season (Chris Johnson) doesn’t help him., But you take Marshawn Lynch off the team last year, do we win the Super Bowl? I think all of us know the answer to that. He just wants to be paid like it. He knows he has a short window left. Nobody says anything when teams cut a guy at this juncture, though. I’m all in for players getting their dollars, man, because you have a short life.”
Asked then if Lynch considers his age a factor — he turned 28 in April — Robinson said “I don’t think it’s a factor for him. I think it’s a factor for them (the Seahawks) because 30 is this magic number. He leads the league in carries the last three years, but he probably has the fewest carries all through training camp and pre-season. He gets his rest. So I don’t know. We’ll see.”
News of the holdout comes a day after Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs got a two-year extension that raised his annual salary from $3.9 million to $8.3 million.
But Lynch enters the season with a contract that remains fifth among all NFL running backs with an average of $7.5 million per year.
Lynch’s deal includes a base salary of $5 million this season and a $500,000 roster bonus. Next season he is due to earn $5.5 million in base with a $2 million roster bonus (he also is technically due a $1.5 prorated signing bonus each year, money he has already received).
The team has already taken steps to prepare for a future without Lynch, grooming 2013 second-round pick Christine Michael to take on a bigger share of the carries this year. Third-year player Robert Turbin also played well in the spring after having had off-season surgery to repair some knee damage.
The team had no comment Thursday night on a possible Lynch hold out.
After there were rumors that Lynch might hold out in mini-camp, coach Pete Carroll downplayed it and said he expected Lynch to key the offense this season.
“I’ve talked to him a number of times and everybody at one time or another has been in contact with him,” Carroll said then. “He’s made it very easy on us to do that and we have a great relationship. He’s got a great relationship with our club and our teammates and the coaches and all that. We have rested him a lot in the off-season. He takes a big pounding during the year. It takes him a long time to get his body back to where he doesn’t feel the rigors of the season that’s passed and we really, in this case it’s unique. But he is a unique player and he has a unique role on our football team, so we have to do what we have to do to take care of himself.
“You won’t see him get the ball a lot in the pre-season. We will work all the way to the opening day and see if we can get him right there for then and that’s what’s most important.”
Asked if he had had any conversations with Lynch about a change in his role going forward, Carroll said: “We have never even approached that because that’s not even a question. It’s never even come up.”
And asked if he expected Lynch to still be the “bell cow” of the offense this season, Carroll said: “Absolutely. We expect him to come right back in and battling and doing the things that he does. Turbo (Robert Turbin) and Christine (Michael), those guys want some time, too, and they are battling and had a great off-season for us. But Marshawn has really been the guy for us and we love everything about the way he plays and what he brings to this team and he has never taken a step backwards at any time for us in all the time that we’ve been here.”
We’ll update this as the night progresses.