Michael Robinson isn’t a Seahawk anymore, but he remains one of Marshawn Lynch’s closest friends, and while appearing on the NFL Network Thursday afternoon, Robinson said Seattle’s star running back won’t be attending training camp.
“He said he will be holding out from training camp this year with the Seahawks.” Robinson said, talking about recent conversation he had with Lynch.
Lynch, 28, has two years remaining on a four-year deal he signed in 2012. He apparently is looking to get a raise and/or more guaranteed money before he gets any farther along in the notoriously short career an NFL running back usually has.
He is currently scheduled to make $5.5 million this season, and will be subject to $30,000 per-day fines if he indeed is absent when camp begins today. Lynch was reportedly planning on skipping last month’s mandatory minicamp, but showed up and avoided the fine that would have come with not taking part.
The belief is that the Seahawks don’t want to set a precedent by re-doing Lynch’s deal with two years still remaining on it. However, in the case of Lynch, he knows there’s a good chance the Seahawks won’t keep him past this season on his current deal because he represents a $9 million cap hit in 2015. So, Lynch is trying to get what he can while he still has some leverage.
Robinson, who served as the team’s de facto Marshawn Lynch spokesman because Lynch didn’t talk to the media, discussed his friend’s situation last month when he was visiting the team before players received their Super Bowl rings.
“The guy has been the face of this franchise for the last four years. Since the day he stepped in that door, it’s been Beast Mode,” Robinson said. “Just from my knowledge of it, he’s been the face of the franchise, Pete (Carroll), John (Schneider), they’ve made no qualms about saying that, and he’s just like ‘I just want to be paid like it.’”
While Lynch might think he has a good argument for wanting to get paid more while he still has a chance, especially because he plays a position where careers rarely last past the age of 30, he might not have enough leverage to make the Seahawks blink. Ultimately, when the fines start piling up and later, when game paydays are on the line, a hold-out player finds it tough to win a stare-down with his team — especially the way NFL contract rules are structured.
While Robinson agrees with Lynch’s reasoning, he also understands it won’t be easy for the running back to get what he’s looking for.
“I think the devaluation of the (running) back doesn’t help his case; the fact that he has two years let on his deal doesn’t help his case — which I’ve expressed to him,” Robinson said. “The fact that the biggest free agent running back signing (Chris Johnson) got $3.5 million a season doesn’t help him.
“But if you take Marshawn Lynch off the team last year, do we win the Super Bowl? I think all of us know the answer to that, so he just wants to be paid like it. He knows he has a short window left.”
“Nobody says anything when teams cut a guy at this juncture, though, so I’m all in for players getting their dollars, because you have a short life.”
Asked if thinks age is a factor for the 28-year-old Lynch, Robinson said, “I don’t think it’s a factor for him. I think it’s a factor for them because 30 is this magic number.”
When Robinson said “them” he nodded his head upward, a reference to the front office decision makers on the second floor of the Seahawks headquarters.
“He leads the league in carries the last three years, but he probably has the fewest carries all through training camp and preseason though,” Robinson said. “He gets his rest. So I don’t know. We’ll see.”