The Marshawn Lynch holdout continues. And the team continues to create the impression that it’s not worried by his absence.
Even if it is.
Asked on Tuesday by ESPN’s John Clayton whether the team is concerned about the situation, G.M. John Schneider reiterated the team’s philosophy when answering whether the team is concerned.
“You know, no,” Schneider said, via the Seattle Times. “Everybody loves Beast Mode. We love him and respect the guy. I think what he’s done in this community, for this franchise, is outstanding. It’s one of those deals where you can never get inside somebody’s head. We’re just going with our plan, and I know it’s cliché-ish but next man up. We’ve had a plan in place here for a number of years, and we can’t veer from that plan for one person because it’s the ultimate team sport.”
The plan, as Schneider explained it, is premised on making “tough decisions.”
“You make models two and three years out, and you have to stick to that and know that there’s going to be tough decisions along the way,” Schneider told Clayton. “We had to let guys like Red Bryant go, Chris Clemons, we weren’t able to sign Breno [Giacomini], Golden Tate. You have to be able to make those decisions along the way knowing you’ll be able to re-sign Michael Bennett and maybe there’s a free agent that comes in and fits in your bracket. It’s just one of those deals where you have to keep going about your business, and you can’t veer off of that.
“Around here we talk about what’s next, and the next person is up. That being said, last year we went through this with Brandon Browner. He had his [injury], and [Byron Maxwell] got his opportunity. Hey, Marshawn Lynch is phenomenal. Phenomenal player and just a unique part of what we’ve had going on here. Two years ago we were able to redo his deal, and he was a big part of that foundation that we started here.”
Schneider’s explanation hints at the point of Lynch’s holdout. A year from now, he may be one of those “tough decisions” the team has to make, when he’s closing in on 30 and he’s due to count $9 million against the cap and Christine Michael or Robert Turbin are ready to take over. Currently, Lynch continues to be the bell cow. Which means it’s his last, best chance to extract more money from the franchise.
None of it really matters for now. Sure, Lynch is racking up $30,000 per day in fines, and his $1.5 million signing bonus allocation is now partially at risk. But the Seahawks would surely waive all fines and penalties immediately if it gets Lynch back before Week One, especially since he otherwise would be used sparingly in practice and in preseason games before Week One.
That’s why the holdout really isn’t a holdout yet, because Lynch isn’t missing much. Last year, he had five carries in the entire preseason. The year before, also five. In 2011, a whopping six.
This one won’t really register until Labor Day, when the Seahawks are roughly 72 hours away from raising their first-ever championship banner and launching the effort to win a second one. If Lynch isn’t in the fold come Tuesday morning September 2, it could take more than a bad call on a last-play Hail Mary to emerge from Opening Night with a 1-0 record.