By Todd Dybas The News Tribune
The Seattle Seahawks gather for mandatory minicamp today still nagged by the Marshawn Lynch storyline. Will the brutish running back show up? Or will he hold out because he wants more money?
It’s not surprising a current and former teammate have backed Lynch’s reported pursuit of more money. He’s currently moving into the third year of a four-year, $30 million deal that had $17 million guaranteed.
Former Seahawks safety Jordan Babineaux, now a talking head on the NFL Network, said the team should pay Lynch.
Current Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett said the same during a Monday morning appearance on the NFL Network.
Meanwhile, there were some movers and shakers who did work during the Seahawks’ 10 voluntary organized team activities, all of which Lynch skipped.
Let’s start with rookie wide receiver Kevin Norwood. The Seahawks selected Norwood out of Alabama in the fourth round. Thanks to the Crimson Tide’s run-first offense, his numbers were moderate. That forced Norwood to be an efficient receiver at crucial times, a role he excelled in.
Once selected, the Seahawks touted Norwood’s ability to catch balls in traffic or the end zone. Both occurred often during OTAs. Norwood pulled in a Hail Mary with Richard Sherman on his back. He made a sliding catch on a throw low and behind him from Terrelle Pryor. He caught passes up the seam and several for touchdowns.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell paid Norwood a basic, but well-received compliment.
“Their job is to catch the ball and he’s really catching the ball well,” Bevell said.
Also of note were cornerback Tharold Simon and linebacker Korey Toomer.
Simon had two interceptions during the final OTA. Though, he’s likely still another year away from cracking the lineup because of Seattle’s defensive back depth.
With injuries to Malcolm Smith (ankle) and Bruce Irvin (hip), Toomer could be in line to join the starting linebacker corps as the strongside linebacker. Toomer missed two seasons because of shoulder and knee injuries. The Seahawks have liked his length and speed, but he just hasn’t been around enough for them to get a good look.
Then, there’s guard James Carpenter.
Last year was a struggle for Carpenter before the Seahawks hit him with a sledgehammer subtle message in the offseason. Seattle decided not to pick up the fifth-year option on Carpenter’s contract.
Carpenter did little work last offseason because of knee surgeries. He was out of shape throughout the season.
This summer, his weight loss is visible. Whereas Carpenter needed to take a knee between drills during practice last season, he’s moving briskly from drill to drill in these workouts. Knowing he is in the final year of his contract, it appears Carpenter has found a new dedication. Desperation remains a powerful motivator.
For three days this week, Norwood, Simon, Toomer, Carpenter and others will continue their grind. Though, Lynch headlines will continue to dominate with the season still almost three months away.