The Seattle Seahawks have Marshawn Lynch set to retire this offseason and that could make Thomas Rawls the starter at running back for 2016. The Seahawks have a number of key players hitting free agency in Bruce Irvin, Jermaine Kearse and Russell Okung and financial issues could keep the team from signing back all three.
Lynch was reportedly considering retirement as far back as last year and now it looks like the running back is ready to hang his cleats up. The Seahawks Twitter account confirmed that Lynch is finishing up his career and that means Thomas Rawls could get the chance to start next season. Lynch put up a picture of his cleats on Twitter with a "deuces" emoji that seemingly hinted that he was going to retire. Lynch's agent has confirmed the news and now the Seahawks will move on without one of their most significant players into next season.
Lynch dealt with injuries in 2015 and played in only seven games with the Seahawks, putting up his worst numbers since coming to Seattle in 2010. Lynch dealt with hamstring and abdominal injuries and finished the season with 417 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Lynch likely was not going to be back for the Seahawks in 2016 even if he didn't retire, as the running back was set to cost over $11 million on the salary cap. Rawls now should get a shot to take over after rushing for 830 yards in eight games as a rookie this past season.
The Seahawks have key players hitting the market in free agency this offseason and it's possible that Bruce Irvin, Jermaine Kearse and Russell Okung all will not return. Irvin said last month that he would be willing to give the Seahawks a hometown discount to stay in Seattle, but there is a chance he will not be back. The Seattle Times reports that the "conventional wisdom" is that Irvin will sign elsewhere in free agency after the team gave new contracts to Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright. Pro Football Talk writes that Irvin should "cash in on the open market" this offseason based on his performance with the Seahawks over the past few years.
Bob Condotta at the Seattle Times reports that Russell Okung likely will test free agency on the open market. The Seahawks likely will at least engage in talks about Okung returning, but if he gets out on the open market, there is a good chance he will sign elsewhere. Kearse is coming off of a career season, but with the emergence of Tyler Lockett, there is a good chance the Seahawks will let him walk. Kearse said that he is not looking to take a hometown discount this offseason, which is another factor in why he likely will not be back with the team next season.
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