1:00pm: Appearing on ESPN 710 Seattle today, GM John Schneider confirmed that Lynch is holding out, and his comments backed up the reports indicating that the Seahawks aren’t eager to give the running back a new contract (link via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times). Schneider noted that the team has to make tough cap decisions every year, adding the financial plan that has been in place for several years allowed the club to sign Lynch to a lucrative deal two years ago. Asked if Seattle was prepared to rely on Christine Michael and Robert Turbin if Lynch didn’t show up, Schneider seemed to suggest the club would make do.
“I think that the players and teammates think that they are comfortable with the next player,” Schneider said. “And that’s no disrespect to Marshawn — everybody knows what he can do.”
11:14am: Marshawn Lynch confirmed yesterday to former Seahawks teammate turned NFL Network personality Michael Robinson that he intends to hold out in the hopes of negotiating a new contract with the club. However, a source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that discussions between Lynch and the Seahawks have been happening off and on for four months, without a whole lot of progress. Seattle continues to resist reworking Lynch’s deal with two years remaining on it, since the team believes it would set a bad precedent going forward.
ESPN.com’s Jim Trotter expands on this point (via Twitter), suggesting that the Seahawks are willing to reconfigure Lynch’s contract, but aren’t open to the idea of giving him additional new money. Trotter also cites a “bad precedent,” noting that the running back’s current deal was signed just two years ago, and that the club doesn’t want to get in the habit of having to revisit contract agreements so frequently.
As Florio points out, Lynch has been the Seahawks’ most valuable playmaker for the last two years, so rewarding him with a modest salary bump would hardly be setting a terrible precedent — if players were to point to this situation in future negotiations, it would be simple enough for Seattle to say, “You’re not Marshawn Lynch.”
Still, although Lynch will earn base salaries of $5MM this year and $5.5MM in 2015, the prorated bonus money included in his deal ensures that he still ranks among the top five backs in the league when it come to average annual value. So it makes some sense that, despite his consecutive Pro Bowl seasons, the Seahawks wouldn’t be enthusiastic about giving him another raise. With the 28-year-old expected to be absent from training camp, it will be interesting to see which side blinks first in the standoff.