Clayton thinks re-signing Marshawn Lynch is ‘vital’

Dec 20, 2011, 11:24 AM | Updated: 11:27 am

By Brady Henderson

Running back Marshawn Lynch will be a free agent at season’s end, leaving the Seahawks with a decision on whether or not to re-sign arguably their best offensive player.

Lynch’s production this season — he topped 1,000 yards on Sunday and has a touchdown in franchise record 10 straight games — puts him in line for a massive pay day.

There are reasons the Seahawks should be wary of dishing out big money for Lynch, just as every NFL team with any running back. They include:

• Running backs have a notoriously short shelf life, tending to hit a wall somewhere around their 30th birthday. Lynch will be 26 next season. His tough running style and tendency to seek out contact could mean his clock is ticking even faster.

• Lynch is in a contract year, something that tends to be a major motivator for most athletes. Will he play with the same ferocity after getting paid? That’s a concern every team in every sport has when paying free agents.

During Monday’s edition of Cold Hard Facts, 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton said Lynch’s value to the team outweighs any of those concerns. He thinks re-signing Lynch is “vital” for the Seahawks.

Clayton: “For several reasons. Not just the standpoint that he is a good ball player, but he means so much to this team as far as the personality of the team. I think that he brings a toughness. Now you see the toughness in the defense. It starts with Red Bryant, Alan Branch, Brandon Mebane. Carries over with the linebackers. Definitely carries to the safety.

“There’s definitely a personality developing. He’s developed a toughness and a personality for the offense. You can’t let that go. It’s so hard to find. And particularly too, it’s so hard to find marketable types of players that fans enjoy. I think they enjoy Beast Mode. They get captivated with his ability to run and just the talent he has.

“… You gotta find a way to keep him on this team. He’s young enough to get a contract. I’m sure they can do a fair deal. The running back market is tough for running backs to get deals anyways. But I think it’s vital that they get this deal done.”

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