Lynch’s importance to the Seahawks makes this a pivotal offseason
Feb 4, 2015, 1:45 PM | Updated: Feb 5, 2015, 8:29 am
In mid-November, I wrote about the danger of the “irreplaceable employee” and the situation that the Seahawks found themselves in with Marshawn Lynch. In the wake of their loss in Super Bowl XLIX, the Seahawks enter the offseason with a similar predicament and maybe even more on the line.
No player on the roster made his importance more obvious than Lynch did this season. In fact, Lynch’s importance is so great that the biggest play in the Super Bowl has achieved legendary status due to the fact that he didn’t touch the ball. The Seahawks will sign Russell Wilson to the biggest contract of the offseason but that doesn’t necessarily make it the most important. Seattle’s offense can (and should) reward its driver in Wilson, but without its engine just how far can the Seahawks go?
Lynch began the 2014 season with an eight-day holdout and was given more money up front on his existing contract as a resolution. At the time, plenty of folks far and near assumed that this was due to be Lynch’s last year in Seattle, but then the 2014 season happened.
The Seahawks entered the year with questions about their running-back depth and had them answered – the depth chart read: LYNCH and everybody else. Everybody else isn’t going to get the job done and I would be willing to bet that Lynch knows it. He’s a unique talent on the field and the Seahawks don’t have a suitable replacement as it stands right now. Championship windows being what they are, all involved know that Lynch makes this team better – a lot better.
However, Lynch is also a unique person and must be managed, whether it be his contentious relationship with the NFL, the ongoing battle with the mainstream media or repeated finable offenses on the field.
There’s also the not-at-all minute matter of his sway within that locker room. The Seahawks battled a divided house with Percy Harvin and jettisoned the receiver to solve the issue, but Lynch is among the most beloved members of the team and the pressure of an offseason that began with a heartbreaking loss combined with any strife with Lynch could create much greater waves. Pete Carroll will have all of his personnel abilities challenged with striking a balance here.
Lynch enters 2015 as the top (though far from only) priority for the Seahawks. How the team handles him will go a long way in determining their chances next season.