Though recent reports have indicated that the Seahawks plan to move on from Marshawn Lynch following the 2014 season, head coach Pete Carroll disputed that the veteran running back is as good as gone. “Somebody just started talking about that — he’s under contract next year, we’d love to have him back,” Carroll told Jim Corbett of USA Today. “There’s no hesitation in us saying that and there never has been. Somebody else said that. That’s never come from here. No one thinks that at all.
“Marshawn’s playing the best he’s played since he’s been here,” Carroll continued. “His feet are on fire. He’s tough as hell. He’s doing everything. He’s catching the ball. He’s our guy. And he has been all this time.”
Of course, these comments are far from a guarantee that Lynch will return to Seattle in 2015. And though Carroll does have final say over the construction of the Seahawks’ roster, it wouldn’t behoove him to be truthful if he does intend to jettison Lynch during the offseason. Regardless of the club’s future plans, Lynch is undoubtedly an important part of Seattle’s roster in 2014, and Carroll wouldn’t gain anything by discussing how the team will proceed with regards to Lynch’s future.
However, the fact remains that Lynch is a strong candidate to be released before next season. The Seahawks can clear $7MM in cap space by cutting Lynch, who’s cap number is made up of a $5MM base salary and a $2MM roster bonus. That cap relief would be beneficial to Seattle as it attempts to sign young contributors, such as quarterback Russell Wilson and linebacker Bobby Wagner, to long-term contracts. Additionally, the club has running backs Christine Michael and Robert Turbin waiting in the wings; with the RBs as interchangeable as they are, it could make sense for the Seahawks to hand the backfield to younger, cheaper players, and use the cap savings on improving their offensive line.
For his part, Lynch spoke with NFL.com’s Michael Silver earlier this week, and though it’s often difficult to get a read on what he’s actually thinking, Lynch didn’t sound overly confident that he would be with Seattle in 2015.