What is Marshawn Lynch’s legacy with the Seahawks?

Jan 19, 2016, 4:12 PM | Updated: Jan 20, 2016, 10:04 am
All signs point to the Seahawks and running back Marshawn Lynch parting ways after six seasons. (AP...
All signs point to the Seahawks and running back Marshawn Lynch parting ways after six seasons. (AP)

There was “Beast Quake” and the Skittles and the Super Bowls, but from John Clayton’s perspective, Marshawn Lynch’s legacy with the Seahawks ultimately lies with his catchphrase: “I’m just about that action, boss.”

“I think that’s the phrase that kind of sums it up, because while he may be tough for a coach to handle, he might be tough for a general manager to handle, his play on the field was hard to handle,” Clayton said. “His ability to pound people, the Beast Mode. Honestly, I look back and everything that I saw from the Beast came from basically Earl Campbell when he was just plowing through the Steelers and doing everything for Houston back in the 1970s. A power back, a great back. Certainly I think you have to look back and think this might go down as one of the top 15 trades in NFL history.”

Marshawn Lynch a non-factor in return, possible Seahawks swan song

There’s been no word from either side, but all signs point to Lynch not returning to Seattle next season – whether he retires or the team decides to move on. Lynch would count $11.5 million against Seattle’s salary cap next season, likely a prohibitive amount.

Clayton said Monday he believes Lynch is 100 percent done in Seattle.

For Brock Huard, Lynch’s legacy is most similar to former Seahawks defensive back Kenny Easley, who was spectacular at times but didn’t have great longevity.

“As far as freakish change-the-game (ability), that really is probably the closest,” he said.

Mike Salk believes that no Seahawk should ever wear the No. 24 again. Huard, on the other hand, said that Lynch deserves a place in the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor, but said it “takes a little bit of time” to see how things play out over the course of the next few years.

“Even Ken Griffey Jr. who was the greatest baseball player ever in the Mariners organization and one of the greats all-time in baseball, you saw some time before 24 (was retired),” Huard said.

Clayton, Salk and Huard agree that part of Lynch’s legacy might be determined by how the sometimes-contentious relationship between he and the organization ends.

Lynch has flirted with retirement for years. He also carried Seattle to back-to-back Super Bowls while rushing for more than 6,300 yards and 57 touchdowns over six years with the team. His injury-filled season and pricey contract don’t mesh well with a cash-strapped squad that has a talented young running back waiting for a starting role.

So, a break-up between he and the organization should be easy, right?

Not likely, according to Clayton.

“(It’ll be) very difficult because you figure you’re not going to hear much from Marshawn’s side and you’re definitely not going to hear much from Marshawn,” Clayton said.

Clayton said the best possible scenario is for Lynch to retire, but, if he still wants to play, to trade him to a place like Oakland for cheap, allowing him to keep his current contract.

“He’s earned that contract and maybe it’s a little excessive for this team at his age. Oakland, they’re in a position with the Raiders that they need to eat up money because they need to get to what’s called the ‘minimum spend’ – 89 percent of the cap. So I know they have a starting running back, but if they can accommodate him for a seventh-round pick – even if it’s going to be a seventh-round pick in 2018 – that would be the best way to go. Other than that it’s probably going to be an ugly divorce.”

Salk disagrees with Clayton’s assessment, saying the relationship has expired on both sides and it should be an easy separation.

“It doesn’t need to be a huge problem, it doesn’t need to get ugly on the way out the door,” Salk said. “Just let him go. Bye, Marshawn. Thank you. We are all ready for this to happen and I think he’s ready for it to happen. Why does it have to be a messy divorce? Why can’t it just be a nice little mediated deal where you’re like, ‘You good?’ ‘Yeah, I’m good.’ ‘Alright, see you later. Have fun in Oakland or wherever you decide to go.’ ‘Great, thank you, you too. Thanks for the memories. Goodbye.’ To me this should be the cleanest break of all time. Both sides are just ready for it to be over and that’s OK.”

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