Seattle Seahawks Rumors: Marshawn Lynch’s Retirement Could Push Thomas Rawls To No. 1 Back

The Seattle Seahawks are rumored to be losing Marshawn Lynch to retirement, and could be ready to giving undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls a big promotion to fill his shoes.

Lynch has reportedly told close friends that he intends to retire this offseason, ESPN reported, seemingly confirming a rumor that had been circulating for several weeks. Lynch will be 30-years-old when the season starts, over the hill for a running back, and has started by being hampered by injury.

The rumors could mean a big promotion for Thomas Rawls, the rookie back who excelled in Lynch’s absence this year. The Seahawks have gradually shifted to a team centered around Russell Wilson’s play, and sources close to the team believe the Seahawks are comfortable with Rawls taking over the No. 1 spot.

“The undrafted rookie showed great promise as he filled in for Lynch until an ankle injury ended his season,” reported Thomas Pittman of King 5 News. “His durability will remain in question until he gets through a full 16 games. But assuming Lynch is leaving Seattle, Rawls will be the presumed starter heading into 2016.”

Marshawn Lynch hit a career low point, rushing for just 417 yards on 111 carries. He struggled with injuries down the stretch, and returned from a hamstring injury just in time to turn in a poor performance against the Minnesota Vikings in the wild card round.

After a slow start to his career in Buffalo, Lynch was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 2010, and has been one of the most powerful and productive backs. He has led the league in touchdowns since 2011, with 51, and is in the top three for carries and rushing yards, the New York Post noted.

There could be some resistance to Marshawn Lynch’s plans to retire. Rumors indicate that other members of the Seattle Seahawks are trying to convince him to return for next year.

But as the New York Post notes, there is no guarantee that the Seahawks want him back anyway. He would cost $11.5 million against the cap next season, the biggest of any running back next year.

“Even if those around him persuade him to delay hanging his cleats up, there is no certainty the franchise will take him back. Lynch, a five-time Pro Bowler, would cost $11.5 million against the salary cap next season. 22-year-old Thomas Rawls was a revelation filling in for Beast Mode (before Rawls himself went down with an ankle injury), and he’s owed just $530,000 for 2016.”

If Marshawn Lynch does retire, he would join a number of other big-name stars hanging it up. Charles Woodson has retired, and many expect Peyton Manning to follow him after Super Bowl 50.

There could be another reason Marshawn Lynch is leaning toward retirement. In an interview on The Ian & Puck Show on 950 AM KJR in Seattle, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network noted that Lynch hasn’t spent any of the roughly $50 million he has made in nine seasons as a player.

Business Insider reported the following.

“Lynch, the 12th pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, signed a modest — by today’s standards — five-year, $19 million rookie contract with the Buffalo Bills. He took home roughly $14 million from that contract, during which he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks. Lynch really cashed in then, signing a four-year, $30 million extension with the Seahawks prior to the 2012 season, and he just finished the first year of a two-year, $24 million contract, bringing his career earnings on the field to $49.7 million.”

If the rumors are true, then the Seattle Seahawks could also end up being more flexible to seek out free agents. Marshawn Lynch’s contract dwarfs that of Thomas Rawls, who is still on his rookie deal and will be a bargain as a starter going forward.

[Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images]

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