JIM MOORE

Moore: Seahawks need a veteran RB, but it shouldn’t be Marshawn Lynch

May 5, 2020, 9:48 AM
Seahawks Marshawn Lynch...
Marshawn Lynch told ESPN his agent has been talking to the Seahawks. (Getty)
(Getty)

Want Marshawn Lynch back with the Seahawks? Really? Are you sure about that?

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Beast Mode talked to ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt Monday night and said his agent is talking with Seattle. That doesn’t mean they’re close to a deal to bring him back for a second time in the last four months, but just the fact that they’re talking means there’s an amount of interest from both parties.

On the plus side, Lynch knows the system and could be a great mentor for Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas. He’d be an insurance policy for Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, both of whom are returning from season-ending injuries last year.

On the negative side, he just turned 34 and as we saw in three games last year, the glimpses of Beast Mode were rare – he rushed for 67 yards on 30 carries, an average of 2.2 yards a run. However, he did produce in the red zone with four touchdowns, three in the playoffs.

He would be a stopgap measure, a fill-in until Penny returns from his knee injury, which could be sometime in October. Or a fill-in for Homer and Dallas until the Seahawks feel like their young running backs are ready to get more playing time.

At this point in his legendary career, Lynch has very little left, but I do think the Seahawks need to sign a veteran given their murky situation at running back.

Even if Carson returns from his hip injury rip roarin’ and ready to go, he has had two of his three seasons cut short by injuries. With his violent running style, can he hold up for a full season? Even if he does, this will be his last year under contract, and unless he rushes for 1,200 to 1,500 yards, I’d expect that the Seahawks will let him test the free-agent market.

By the end of the 2020 season, maybe we will have seen enough good things from Penny to think that he could be the No. 1 running back. He was showing more and more flashes until he got hurt. But his status remains a huge unknown – I’d bet more on him not being the Seahawks’ starting running back in 2021 than betting he will.

But his odds of being the No. 1 guy are better than Homer’s, and it’s impossible to say what the future holds for Dallas, the rookie from Miami.

Rather than going for a temporary solution with Lynch, why don’t the Seahawks sign Carlos Hyde, who rushed for 1,070 yards for the Texans last year? He’ll be 30 years old on Sept. 20, which is hardly ancient, even for a running back. Hyde averaged 4.4 yards a carry in 2019, the same as Carson.

And this deep into free agency, Hyde would be a cheap option too. Or if you want to take a flyer on someone else, someone younger with a better resume, you could take a look at Devonta Freeman, who averaged 3.6 yards per carry last year but is only 28 years old. Freeman had back-to-back seasons in 2015-16 of rushing for more than 1,000 yards and scoring 11 TDs both years for the Falcons.

One thing seems clear to me – with Carson being in the last year of his contract, the Seahawks could need a new starting running back in 2021. Again, it could be Penny, and you can’t completely rule out Homer or Dallas, but why not bring in a candidate this year who could be the No. 1 guy next year?

As much as you love what he did in the past, Lynch is nowhere near the best option now.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jim Moore on Twitter.

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