By John Boyle
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 Lynch will hold out from training camp.
Robinson said he had just received a call from Lynch, then reported, “He said he will be holding out from training camp this year with the Seahawks.”
Lynch has two years left on the four-year deal he signed in 2012, and at 28 is looking to get a raise and/or more guaranteed money before the notoriously short running-back career window closes. 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 Friday. Lynch was reportedly planning on skipping last month’s mandatory minicamp, though he did end up showing up and avoiding the fine that would have come with a no-show.
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, but 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—he represents a $9 million cap hit in 2015—so he’s trying to get what he can while he still has some leverage. It’s a situation where it’s hard to fault Lynch for wanting to get paid while he still has a chance, especially because he plays a position where careers rarely last past the age of 30, but just because he has a good argument doesn’t mean he has enough leverage to make the Seahawks blink. Ultimately when the fines start piling up and later, when game checks are an issue, it’s hard for any player to win a stare-down with a team the way NFL contract rules are structured.
Robison, 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 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 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 VMAC.
“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.”