Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the Seahawks are now more than open to the possibility of bringing RB Marshawn Lynch back for the 2015 season.
“…Mainly because he actually has outperformed his contract and clearly established himself as the identity of this team,” Rapoport said. “Basically, they don’t have a choice based on the way he plays to bring him back.”
Given on how well he’s played in the second half of the season and into the playoffs, this probably seems a little obvious, but there were multiple reports earlier in the year that Seattle was prepared to move on without him next season.
However, it’s clear that Lynch is arguably the most valuable component of their offensive attack, and replacing his productivity would be extremely difficult, despite a decent group of free agent running backs a deep draft class.
The last we heard regarding Lynch, Rapoport reported that Lynch could walk away from the NFL after the season, as he was believed to be weighing retirement.
Lynch, 28, has one year remaining on his four-year, $31 million contract that included $17 million guaranteed. He’ll make a base salary of $5 million next year to go along with his $8.5 million cap figure.
The Seahawks could free up $4.5 million in cap space next year by parting ways with Lynch, according to OverTheCap.com.
This season, Lynch has ran for 1,306 yards on 280 carries (4.7 YPC) and has scored 17 total touchdowns over the course of 16 games. Pro Football Focus has Lynch rated as the No. 2 running back in the league.