Seahawks general manager John Schneider was interviewed on 710 AM radio Friday morning, and the most significant thing he said involved running back Marshawn Lynch.
The status of Lynch, who’s been Seattle’s Beast Mode ball carrier the past six seasons, for next season has always been in question. Schneider said Friday he is under the impression Lynch is “leaning toward retirement.”
This is not shocking. There were whispers about Lynch possibly retiring prior to this season. Then Lynch, who missed just one game during his first five seasons with Seattle, suffered through an injury-plagued 2015 in which is played just eight of the Seahawks’ 18 games, including playoffs.
If Lynch retires, that would free up some room under the salary cap for Seattle. Lynch’s contract calls for him to make $11.5 million next season. If the Seahawks and Lynch sever ties for any reason, including retirement, Seattle gets $6.5 million in cap savings. This would be beneficial for a team that already has a lot of money committed to players for 2016, particularly considering the Seahawks have a Lynch successor already on hand in Thomas Rawls.
The other significant thing Schneider said Friday was that tight end Jimmy Graham will definitely be back next season. Graham, Seattle’s big offseason acquisition, had some growing pains fitting into Seattle’s system, then suffered a season-ending knee injury. The Seahawks’ offense did not suffer in Graham’s absence, and Seattle could save $9 million in cap space by releasing Graham. But that apparently won’t happen.