The eyes of the NFL this week focus on Indianapolis and the annual pre-draft Combine.
Also a feature of the event are press conferences conducted by many coaches and general managers.
Seattle general manager John Schneider is expected to meet the media in Indianapolis Thursday morning, with coach Pete Carroll on the docket for Friday afternoon.
What will undoubtedly be one of the main topics for each is the future of running back Marshawn Lynch, who Schneider said in two radio appearances last week has yet to tell the team if he intends to play in 2015.
Seattle Times columnist Larry Stone wrote about that issue for the Tuesday paper, saying that the Seahawks are hoping for a resounding “yes.”
Along with Lynch deciding to play, though, the team then also needs to work out a new contract with him, almost certainly an extension that would lower his salary cap hit for 2015.
To refresh the situation on that, Lynch has one season left on a four-year deal he signed in 2012. It’s scheduled to pay him a base of salary of $5 million with a roster bonus of $2 million. There’s also a pro-rated $1.5 million signing bonus, money he has already received and that he could be asked to pay back if he retired. That adds up to a salary cap hit of $8.5 million in 2015.
For some thoughts on what the Seahawks could do with Lynch’s contract, I again turned to former NFL agent Joel Corry, who now writes for CBSSports.com. Corry, in fact, addressed Lynch’s situation in this story for CBSSports.com, this week. He offered more extensive thoughts in our conversation.
Corry noted that per salary cap rules, Seattle could not do anything with Lynch that would raise his cap number for 2015 until the one-year anniversary of when he agreed to the alterations in his deal last summer after he held out (he agreed to come back on July 31).
“If they are going to do something before then it’s going to be the cap number staying the same or it has to go down,” Corry said.
Schneider referred to exactly that when he said last week that Lynch knows he won’t come back at the same cap number in 2015. Seattle almost certainly will want to get something done with Lynch prior to then, anyway.
Corry says he thinks Seattle could a backloaded two-year extension that would reduce the cap number a little bit for this season.
“You can do a deal where you can get $1 million of cap room,” he said. “Tie his 2015 compensation to mirror basically what the franchise tag number would be, which would be right around $11 million. They like to keep the base salary as it is, but you get rid of that $2 million roster bonus, convert that to signing bonus and you make $7.5 of the $11 million a signing bonus so that way you can lower the cap number by a million. And then you figure out what the average to come up with a fair average for a new money average over the two years.
“Personally, I think the $7.5 (million) average he has right now is fine because that accounts for the fact he is an older running back and should be declining at some point. He is going to want to be the second-highest paid guy because nobody is touching Adrian Peterson money ($15.4 million in 2015). But number two is Jamaal Charles at a shade over $9 million.
“So maybe it’s a psychological thing for him take the new money average to $10 million for the two new years. Maybe that’s an important thing to do. But you could do that in 2016 and it’s not guaranteed and basically if he doesn’t perform well in 2015 he’s not getting the money and maybe you backload it so the average is $10 (million). It’s $30 (million) on paper, a two-year extension on paper, but it’s really one because the 2017 year is so backloaded that it’s going to have to be adjusted or he’s going to get released and you wouldn’t have that much dead money compared to what the cap money on the books would be. You’d have $2.5 dead money as the singing bonus, which would be significantly less than whatever that cap number would be.”
Now to find out what Lynch wants to do. But while there will be plenty of questions about this week, there may not be a whole lot of answers.