Lynch is irreplaceable to Seahawks, and that could be a problem

Nov 12, 2014, 11:21 AM | Updated: 11:38 am

Considering how important Marshawn Lynch still is to Seattle's offense, the Seahawks will have a hard time replacing him if he's released after the season. (AP)


“Beware the irreplaceable employee.”

Someone that I used to work for said those words to me many years ago and it’s no less true today than it was then. If you’re trying to run a business – any business – and you have an employee that you cannot function properly without, your business is at risk.

It’s not that tough to see the ways in which this truth in the business world is playing out with the Seahawks. They have drafted for depth at all positions. They have instilled the “Always Compete” mantra as their modus operandi. They are unafraid of promoting youth and inexperience.

With all that said, the Seahawks have an irreplaceable employee in Marshawn Lynch.

Watching him go off for 140 yards and four touchdowns on 21 carries against the Giants made plain his singular ability to make Seattle’s offense go. Russell Wilson is a unique talent and Doug Baldwin is nothing but fun to watch on the field, but none of the offense works the way that it needs to without Lynch. I started the year preaching the virtue of the Seahawks running from the running back position and getting everyone on the depth chart involved, but now it’s November and there’s no choice but to admit that Lynch alone needs to be on the field for the Seahawks to have any sort of postseason run.

The upside to the fact that the Seahawks so clearly need Marshawn Lynch is that they actually have Marshawn Lynch. Despite a preseason holdout and rumblings of a disconnect between Lynch and management, he is on the roster and delivering every Sunday the way he always has. Whatever may be made of his approach to the game or his mercurial personality, Lynch is still a singular talent and is giving everything that you could ask for on the field.

The downside is that no one else on the team has stepped up and marginalized his contributions with their own, and there’s now room for serious doubts about what the Seahawks’ offense might look like in 2015 if – as has been so often rumored – Lynch is released. The Seahawks have brought in Robert Turbin, Spencer Ware, Derrick Coleman and Christine Michael among others to increase production from the backfield but have yet to find much more than a host of backups and a fullback. For Seattle’s running attack to work, this offense will need more from whomever is carrying the ball than that. While there’s still time for another back to step up into a bigger role, it’s fair to question why that hasn’t happened yet.

There is also the issue of Lynch’s age and mileage to consider. The dropoff for running backs after age 28 tends to be stark and Lynch is headed for his fourth straight season north of 285 carries. Sooner or later it catches up to every player in the league and the Seahawks need to know what the post-Beastmode reality looks like. But that will have to wait.

Add to all of this the fact that Lynch is so openly adored and respected by his teammates and the Seahawks have themselves an irreplaceable employee who – at the very least – holds a huge portion of the team’s postseason aspirations in his hands.

As always, thanks for reading and feel free to join the conversation any time on Twitter @TheMichaelGrey.

Michael Grey

Taijuan Walker is one of the Mariners’ options for the fifth spot in what could be a stacked ...

Michael Grey

Shortstop isn’t the Mariners’ only intriguing position battle

While much of the attention will be paid to Brad Miller and Chris Taylor as they compete to be the Mariners' starting shortstop, Michael Grey writes that the more intriguing position battle is with the fifth spot in the rotation.

10 years ago

Taijuan Walker is one of three young players with MLB experience competing to be Seattle’s fi...

Brent Stecker

Mariners rotation should benefit from health, depth in 2015

With Hisashi Iwakuma healthy and three young players with MLB experience competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, the Mariners have a starting rotation in the conversation to be one of the best in baseball.

10 years ago

A healthy and productive season from James Paxton would make the Mariners’ rotation dangerous...

Michael Grey

Three keys for the Mariners to meet their lofty expectations

With expectations as high as they've been in a long time, Michael Grey identifies three things that must happen in order for the Mariners to meet them.

10 years ago

Brady Henderson

Should athletes not publicize their good deeds?

Michael Grey weighs in on what Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin told "The Barbershop" about why he doesn't draw attention to the good deeds he does in the community.

10 years ago

Running back Marshawn Lynch is mulling retirement, according to general manager John Schneider. (AP...

Michael Grey

Seahawks’ offseason plans hinge on Marshawn Lynch’s decision

With Marshawn Lynch mulling retirement, the Seahawks are faced with the possibility of having to make key offseason decisions without knowing whether or not their star running back will be playing in 2015.

10 years ago

Ensuring that Marshawn Lynch is on the roster next year should be Seattle’s top priority this...

Michael Grey

Lynch’s importance to the Seahawks makes this a pivotal offseason

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.

10 years ago

Lynch is irreplaceable to Seahawks, and that could be a problem