In theory, he could return to play later in the postseason. But with Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch skipping the trip to Minnesota following a seven-game absence after core-muscle surgery, the question becomes whether Lynch will be a Seahawk in 2016.
He almost definitely won’t be.
Due to make $9 million in base salary with a cap number of $11.5 million, Lynch surely would lose a financial face-off with Thomas Rawls, who is due to make $525,000, with a cap number of $530,000. Apart from the very real contractual differences (and not nearly as dramatic production gap), Lynch has been a handful, to say the least, for the Seahawks in recent years. (Look for plenty of examples to emerge, Percy Harvin-style, once the relationship ends.)
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.
Lynch’s decision to not play on Sunday — which by all appearances was his decision — could be interpreted in many ways. Maybe it’s a push back against offensive line coach Tom Cable’s public statement that Lynch must “adapt” to the team’s new offense. Maybe it’s a business decision, aimed at keeping Lynch healthy in the event he’s looking for a new team.
Adding to the actual or perceived friction between player and team is the basic question of whether Lynch should have made the trip to Seattle, in order to keep the Vikings thinking until 90 minutes before kickoff that Lynch would play. While Lynch never travels when he’s not active, this would have been a great opportunity to make an exception.
Lynch didn’t make an exception for the Seahawks, and the Seahawks are getting closer to the point where they no longer have to make excuses for Lynch. Whenever Seattle’s season ends, Lynch’s time with them will end, too.