Scott Hardy
Beast Mode on Hold?

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By now, everyone in fantasy land has heard the story about an unhappy Marshawn Lynch and his holdout. As of this writing, he has missed three days of camp and has cost himself about $90,000 in the process. After two more days, the team can start going after the pro-rated portion of his signing bonus for the year (approximately $1.5 million). Lynch is scheduled to make a little more than $5 million this year and close to $9 million next year. The speculation is that he won’t see the final year of his contract due to the cap hit and the Seattle Seahawks need to open up the vault for Russell Wilson's mega deal.

In my opinion, this holdout is more about next year than this year. In Seattle, all you have heard this summer is that Lynch is going to get cut next season as an inevitable cap casualty. His contract is just too big for a power back that has had a huge workload over the past three years, and (gulp) is approaching the dreaded 30-year-old mark. How much punishment can one man dish out on the way to 300-plus carries and still be effective? The consensus is that the Seahawks will be proactive and cut ties with him before his skills really start to decline.

This holdout is all about Lynch’s feelings. Add to the above talk the fact that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell had the nerve to suggest that the offense will go to the dreaded running back by committee this season. Now that’s offensive! Somewhere, Lynch must have heard the rumors and decided to talk. Well, maybe not talk. He is letting his actions speak for him. That’s how we ended up here, with an upset Lynch who wants to speak his mind, but is literally unwilling to open his mouth. Seems like a standstill, as the Seahawks have made comments that they feel he should live up to his contract, which is only coming into Year 3.

I am here to ensure you worry warts that this will eventually become a non-issue. Christine Michael and Robert Turbin are not ready to handle the workload. Especially not for a Super Bowl Champion team that has its eyes set on the elusive repeat. Michael may have a fair-sized role this season, as I expect the team to try and keep Lynch’s carries to the 250-275 mark instead of the 300-plus it has been recently. A window like the one facing the Seahawks comes around so rarely nowadays. I don’t expect a front office that has seemingly done everything right to this point, to jeopardize what they have worked so hard to build out of spite.

There is a precedence for this front office to make a concession to a player they view as very important to their success. Several years ago, Chris Clemons held out in the preseason after a big year the prior season, and was rewarded with a new contract. I certainly won’t try to delve into the mind of Lynch, lest I get lost in the expected madness and need to be put in a padded room somewhere. But I feel that it wouldn’t take too much to make him happy. He’s not asking them to tear up his deal and sign him to a monster long-term contract.

I see this situation playing out with both parties coming to the table and hammering out a revised contract. Give him a small raise this year, with a re-worked final year of the deal in the $6-7 million range next year, and guarantee both years. Problem solved! This would work for both parties. Lynch has shown no signs of slowing down and would appear to have a couple of years left in the tank. The cap hit next year may be a bit higher than the Sehaawks want to absorb, but it’s not too outrageous. That would buy the team time to see what they really have in their backfield and prepare for life post-Lynch.

This idea seems more plausible when you factor in the unexpected retirement of wide receiver Sidney Rice. His cap hit was going to be slightly more than $1 million dollars this year, had he made the team. That takes care of the cash for this season. Apply some NFL salary cap accounting and next season can work as well. Apparently, it’s just that simple! On a separate note, I can’t believe the team hasn’t responded to my resume seeking an upper level front office position. It must have gotten lost in the mail. Stupid post office.

When your fantasy draft finally comes, don’t be gun shy in picking Lynch. He looks to be the fifth-sixth best back overall and a likely high first-round pick. His workload may be slightly less this year, but by all accounts he may be running behind a better offensive line. Look at his numbers from last year and then consider the fact that several key guys on the line missed extended time. Lynch should be drafted high again this year, despite all the outside noise and retirement threats. If he slips to you in the late first round, even better. Walt Disney got it right – if you show a beast some love and respect, you can have a happy ending!

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