By John Boyle
And yes, that’s an intentionally over-dramatic headline, because as much as we’re all talking about Lynch’s potential holdout—he is, after all, one of the Seahawks’ most important players—it is at this moment still just that, a potential holdout. For all we now, Lynch could show up to next week’s mandatory minicamp and render the past week of talk meaningless. After all, as of now we’re hearing a lot of sources saying he won’t show up, but Lynch has yet to actually convey that message to the Seahawks. But for now, let’s get into the latest on Lynch.
On Thursday evening, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport suggested Lynch could possibly retire if he doesn’t get what he’s looking for out of the Seahawks. The league’s website followed up with a report from former Seahawk Jordan Babineaux, who talked to Lynch and said he doesn’t see the running back retiring. Lynch himself also retweeted a photo of himself lifting weights “preparing for the upcoming season!!!!”
— Eugene Smith (@edsmith84) June 13, 2014
Sure Lynch could walk away—he’s as hard of an athlete to predict as any—but short of that happening, and I have a hard time seeing that happen, this shouldn’t be a huge issue come September, even if Lynch is absent next week. As I outlined in this post Thursday, Lynch has good reason to be thinking about his future; the Seahawks very well may cut him or ask him to restructure his deal in 2015, when he counts $9 million towards the salary cap. But even if Lynch has a point, he doesn’t have much in the way of leverage.
On top of that, it’s in the Seahawks’ best interest to take a tough stance here and not set a precedent by redoing Lynch’s deal two years into a four-year contract. Having just extended a number of key players, the Seahawks don’t want those players, especially since they’re younger and more likely to have leverage towards the end of their deals, to be able to point to this situation and say, “See, you took care of Lynch back in 2014, why not me?” Let’s say, for example, Doug Baldwin goes out and has a monster year as a starting receiver. He’s younger than Lynch and plays a position that commands a higher salary, so why wouldn’t he look for an immediate raise if Lynch was able to get one with multiple years left on his deal?
The Seahawks are a much better team in 2014 without Lynch, but unless they believe he’s serious about retiring, their best bet is to wait this out and hope the situation resolves itself in training camp.