Seahawks’ offseason plans hinge on Marshawn Lynch’s decision
Feb 11, 2015, 9:23 AM | Updated: 11:38 am
I’ll start with the most obvious thing you’ll hear all day: There is only one Marshawn Lynch.
With the obvious part out of the way, dealings for the Seahawks in 2015 with the one and only Lynch get a bit more complicated. General manager John Schneider said Tuesday on 710 ESPN Seattle that the first part of any future Lynch deal has to start with an answer to the question of whether or not he wants to play football at all. An answer like that – especially an answer like that coming from Lynch – doesn’t exactly come on a predictable timeline. But the rest of the league’s calendar does.
The Seahawks don’t have a viable alternative at running back as it stands today. No one can expect another Beastmode (see: Line 1) but the Seahawks cannot be expected to abandon their run-first identity and they need to have the ability to run – a lot. While Robert Turbin and Christine Michael may well be a part of the answer, it’s tough to imagine them being the features of Seattle’s rushing attack. Turbin has played the part of the reliable backup while Michael has proven little more than to be unproven.
It is also tough to imagine a draft pick or free-agent signing to come in with the expectation that he be the primary back in the Seahawks’ offense. The need is great enough to have several draft picks out there project Seattle to take a shot at either Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin or Todd Gurley of Georgia in the first round. While mock drafts in February aren’t worth the paper that they’re printed on, it’s worth noting that so many consider an impact runner to be a need for the best rushing team in the NFL.
Schneider mentioned that the Seahawks do not enter any offseason with the notion that they must have any one individual player, but they made an exception for Lynch a year ago when he held out for more money and they may need to consider it again. The Seahawks’ offensive identity and much of their overall attitude comes from Lynch, and until they have a suitable replacement the team may be forced to continue to treat him as an exception.
An answer for the post-Lynch reality at running back isn’t the only question facing Seattle’s offense with additional needs at wide receiver, tight end and along the offensive line. All of those needs are impacted a great deal by the presence or absence of Lynch this year. Without him in the lineup, the other playmakers – including the soon-to-be-paid franchise quarterback Russell Wilson – will all need to pick up more of the slack. For that to happen, some guys with higher ceilings at receiver and tight end likely will need to be in the mix.
The NFL offseason abounds with questions but the Seahawks’ deals have to start with the most important question: What does Lynch want to do?