The Seattle Seahawks have Marshawn Lynch set to retire this offseason and that could make Thomas Rawls the starter for 2016. Lynch leaving also could give the team the chance to sign Bruce Irvin, Jermaine Kearse and Russell Okung in free agency, but right now the returns of those players looks unlikely.
If Lynch didn't retire, the Seahawks likely would have released him this offseason, as he would have counted as a $11.5 million cap hit. The Seahawks have players like Bruce Irvin, Jermaine Kearse, Jeremy Lane, and Russell Okung hitting free agency and the team could have cut Lynch to help the team re-sign some of those players. Lynch was coming off of his worst season with Seattle after dealing with multiple injuries, playing in just seven games and rushing for 417 yards.
Lynch has been one of the most used backs in the league over the past four years and things may have finally caught up to him after dealing with injuries in 2015. The Seahawks saw Thomas Rawls step up with Lynch out and his strong play could lead the team to consider giving Rawls the chance to start next season. Lynch averaged just 3.8 yards per carry this season, his worst since first coming to Seattle and he finished the season with just one 100-yard game.
Lynch has been a stalwart for the Seattle offense over the past four years, putting up at least 300 total touches in each of those seasons. Lynch dealt with a hamstring injury and had abdominal surgery last season and with his high cap hit, the team likely would have considered moving on if he didn't retire. The Seattle Times reported that Lynch may have to return some of his signing bonus to the Seahawks if he retires.
The Seahawks have other concerns this offseason, including key players like Bruce Irvin and Russell Okung hitting free agency. According to the Seattle Times, Irvin is willing to take a "hometown discount" to stay in Seattle, but there is a chance that may not be enough for the team to keep him. Bob Condotta writes that the "conventional wisdom" around the Seahawks is that the team will move on from Irvin this offseason. The team did not pick up Irvin's fifth year option last season and while he has been a key player on defense, the Seahawks could consider other options at the position.
Okung is also hitting the market and there is a chance that he will not return next season. Okung reportedly sent out an email to all 32 teams informing them that he is getting shoulder surgery, but that he will be ready to return for the start of training camp. Kearse is hitting the market and he said that he will likely not give a hometown discount to stay in Seattle. The emergence of Tyler Lockett as a rookie may keep Kearse from returning to the Seahawks anyway.