The Seattle Seahawks are headed for a long offseason, and rumors indicate that when the team does come back to play again in 2016 it could likely be without Marshawn Lynch.
The team's season ended Sunday when the clock ran out on their frantic comeback. After falling behind 31-0 against the Carolina Panthers, the Seahawks came charging back and brought it to within a touchdown, but failed to recover an onside kick. The dream of making three straight Super Bowls is over, and the team now faces some big decisions in the coming months.
As the Seattle Seahawks now head to the offseason, there are growing rumors that Marshawn Lynch will end up being an offseason casualty. After missing nine games this season and undergoing abdominal surgery in November, Lynch's health is in question and, at 29, he is nearing the traditional age of decline for running backs.
Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch will play today vs Panthers. (via @BrittMcHenry & @nflnetwork) pic.twitter.com/BRyEYmpZecLynch would also be very expensive, carrying a cap hit of $11.5 million. And as ESPN noted, the Seahawks could have some younger -- and cheaper -- options.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 17, 2016
"Rookie running back Thomas Rawls was tremendous all season, carrying 147 times for 830 yards (5.65 yards per carry) before suffering a broken ankle," the report noted. "Assuming the team is confident that Rawls can rehab from that injury, Lynch's career in Seattle could be over."
The Seattle Seahawks also have other priorities this offseason. They have two starting offensive linemen -- left tackle Russell Okung and right guard J.R. Sweezy -- headed to free agency. They will also will have to make decisions on starting wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and defensive tackles Brandon Meband and Ahtyba Rubin, who are all in need of new contracts.
The rumors claiming the Seattle Seahawks will be parting ways with Marshawn Lynch date back several months. As Pro Football Talk noted, the Seattle offense looked sharp without Lynch in the lineup, even implying that his absence gave some other players a better chance to shine.
"Also, and as PFT previously has noted, it's not a coincidence that the best seven-game stretch of quarterback Russell Wilson's career has come with Lynch out of the building. Whether it's the $20 million per year contract, the decision to pass and not run with the Super Bowl on the line, or the 'Go Hawks!' perception that Wilson is too aligned with management, Lynch and Wilson haven't had an ideal relationship."There have also been rumors of friction in the locker room, especially after Lynch made the decision not to play in the team's wild card round game against the Minnesota Vikings. Lynch didn't even travel with the team, the report noted, which took away the team's ability to keep Minnesota guessing in the lead-up to the game.
There was also question of whether Marshawn Lynch would be active on Sunday against the Panthers, and how much he might play.
Darrell Bevell provides rare "you never know" glimpse into Seattle's otherwise quiet exasperation with Marshawn https://t.co/F46mLZyuqcIn the end, Lynch's presence didn't make much of a difference on Sunday. He had six carries for 20 yards, and caught another two passes for 15 yards.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 17, 2016
If the rumors are true and the Seattle Seahawks do end up parting ways with Marshawn Lynch, there could be a number of teams interested in picking him up. There is speculation that the Dallas Cowboys could be interested, and it would seem a logical fit. Like Seattle, Dallas runs a zone blocking scheme that would be an especially good fit for the aging Lynch. But there is still a lot of time for Seattle to make that decision.
[Picture by Jamie Squire/Getty Images]