Marshawn Lynch will be one of the biggest storylines this offseason. The running back got a nice contract extension last year, but his impact this season was minimal. The abdominal injury and disappearance in the playoffs certainly have not helped his value and with a rookie running behind him, Lynch's future is far from certain as head coach Pete Carroll admits he has no idea what will happen this offseason.
Lynch's contract last season is hurting his future now. The running back is due $9 million in 2016 while the Seahawks can save $6.5 million in cap space by releasing him. When Lynch was injured, the Seahawks got a taste of life with Thomas Rawls as the leading rusher and it did not look bad. Considering the veteran's injury history and salary, there is real reason to doubt he returns in 2016. Carroll knows it.
"I don't know how that's going to go. I don't know how any of these guys are going to go right now. I don't know," Carroll said, via the Seattle Times.
That was not a ringing endorsement to bring Lynch back. The reality is that unless the running back agrees to take a massive pay cut from that contract, he is not returning to Seattle. The Seahawks could release him or they could try and see if he is worth something on the trade market. At 30, Lynch's value is low. The Seahawks might be able to get a low draft pick for him at best meaning a release might be the easier option. The Seahawks are expected to at least see what Lynch would be worth before making a move.
Seattle has a lot of contract decisions to make which means Lynch's salary-cap hit is not wanted. The team will need to re-sign Jermaine Kearse along with Bruce Irvin. The linebacker was thought to be done in Seattle, but has since said he would be open to taking a pay cut in order to remain with the team.
"I was asked that," said Irvin, via ESPN.com. "Pete [Carroll] and John [Schneider] asked me that when I met with them today. If it came to that, I would definitely come back. $3, $4 million? $3, $4, $5 million? I would definitely come back because I'm established here. These are my brothers. I honestly can't even imagine myself playing with anybody else, being in a different meeting room, listening to different pregame speeches. It's just crazy to me. I would definitely come back if they matched or if it was a little less. I would definitely come back to Seattle."
One player not set on Seattle is Michael Bennett. According to ESPN.com, Bennett described losing in the playoffs like a divorce leaving many to believe he could be let go. Bennett held out during a portion of the last offseason in search of a contract extension Seattle had no plans on giving him. Currently signed through 2017, Bennett would get plenty of interest on the market if available.