The Seattle Seahawks have questions at the running back position for the first time in years. Marshawn Lynch is retiring from the NFL, a move confirmed by his agent and social media. That leaves the Seahawks without their franchise running back who has been the stabilizing force of the offense for years. Now the Seahawks are tasked with replacing a future Hall of Fame rusher in either free agency or the NFL Draft.
According to the Seattle Times, the Seahawks save $6.5 million in 2016 and $10 million in 2017 with the retirement of Lynch. That will allow them to make major improvements to the roster which will include an upgrade at the running back spot. Entering next season, Thomas Rawls will be on the roster. The rookie running back showed a lot of promise last year, but ended his season early due to injury. Rawls is expected to make a full recovery and be ready to play in 2016, but he cannot handle the rushing load on his own. The Seahawks have to add someone.
The Seattle Times reports that head coach Pete Carroll would like to bring back Christine Michael who will be a restricted free agent. The team could also look to acquire someone in free agency in order to combat the youth on the rotation. Players like James Starks, Bilal Powell and Ronnie Hillman are second-tier backs that will not cost as much for the Seahawks. Players like Chris Ivory or Lamar Miller could be immediate starters for the team should Rawls not be healthy, but they will cost more than the Seahawks might be willing to pay.
One thing that Lynch's retirement helps is contracts to several of the team's free agent. Players like Bruce Irvin and Russell Okung are looking for big pay raises in free agency and the Seahawks cannot afford to let them walk away. Seattle could also re-sign Jermaine Kearse who told the media that he has no plans on offering up a hometown discount to return to the Seahawks. That would give Russell Wilson his three top receivers against in 2016.
The Seahawks must also consider making extensions to players like Doug Baldwin and Michael Bennett who still have time left on their current contracts but have made it clear they would like new deals. Losing Lynch is a hit to the Seahawks, but it gives Seattle to bring back certain players while bringing on younger talent to help rebuild the offense.