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Clayton’s Cold Hard Facts: Where does Marshawn go from here?


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The fines for Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch will take a huge spike if his hold out continues Tuesday. (AP)

Highlights from the latest edition of “Cold Hard Facts” with John Clayton on 710 ESPN Seattle:

Beast Mode’s predicament. The Professor doesn’t expect the Seahawks to pursue a replacement at running back while Marshawn Lynch continues his hold out. Instead, he expects Lynch to run out of options sooner rather than later, especially considering how severe his fines will get in the very near future because of the latest collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players association.

“It’s not as if Marshawn has a lot of options here. Tomorrow (Tuesday) is a big day. As of today he’s fined $150,000, and if you really follow the way the CBA dictates these things, by tomorrow night he’s going to owe the team $1,080,000,” Clayton said.

If Lynch doesn’t report Tuesday, he’ll be drawing a very clear line in the sand that his hold out is just as much about the principle as it about the money, and at that point everybody better pack a lunch.

“I think if it gets past tomorrow it’s gonna be a long one,” Clayton said.

Beast Mode may not hold all the cards in this situation, but if there’s one thing that’s for sure about Lynch, nothing’s for sure.

“It’s a fight he can’t win, this one. Nobody can read the mind of Marshawn Lynch, but this hold out is just one where everything is designed against him.”

How outdated really is Lynch’s contract? Lynch has produced just about as much as any running back in the NFL since he joined the Seahawks, and he’s made it clear he wants to be compensated as such. As Clayton points out, though, it’s not as if his current deal is that far off.

“Marshawn is still the fifth-highest-paid back in football,” Clayton said. “He was one of the first core-group players (the Seahawks) took care of, and when you go back and you look at the contract, how fair is this contract? Maybe you can say that he’s outperformed $7.5 million, he should make more money than Matt Forte, he should make as much money as ‘Shady’ (LeSean) McCoy … but the contract was front-loaded.”

In that respect, Lynch has made his money. He earned a base salary of $7 million last year, but the point of contention is it dips down to $5 million in 2014 and $5.5 million in 2015.

“He’s one of the three-top, maybe four-top running backs in the league. He’s the fifth-highest paid. It’s not that outdated. Sure, to a certain degree a little bit, but not totally outdated.”

Jaws picks Foles over Wilson. ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski has always been an outspoken critic of Russell Wilson’s quarterback abilities, but his comments last week on Philadephia’s 97.5 The Fanatic justifying why he would pick Eagles QB Nick Foles over the Seahawks’s Super Bowl-winning signal-caller may be his most incendiary yet.

“I’m taking Foles,” Jaworski said. “Not even close. Russell Wilson is just … because of that system he is in. Russell Wilson plays with that defense, the best in football.”

Jaworski went on to say that Foles even throws a better ball than Wilson, which are obviously fighting words to the 12th Man. The Professor stepped up and definitively stated that he doesn’t agree with his colleague, though.

“Half a season is what Foles has. I’m reluctant to jump on the bandwagon. I’m willing to put him in the top 18, but to put him over Russell Wilson, who right now is the seventh- or eighth-best quarterback in football in my opinion — c’mon, Jaws, what are you thinking?”