Running back Marshawn Lynch has been absent from the voluntary offseason workout program for the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.
Lynch has not been with the team for any of the team’s OTAs that have been open to the media over the last three weeks. Organized Team Activities are voluntary and there is no penalty for Lynch deciding against showing up. However, next week’s three-day mini-camp is mandatory.
Apparently that still isn’t enough reason to convince Lynch to show up.
According to Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports, the Seahawks are not expecting Lynch to attend the mini-camp next week. If he doesn’t show up, he will be subject to a fine by the team.
However, a source with knowledge of the situation has told Mike Florio of PFT, that Lynch hasn’t told anyone what he plans to do in regards to whether he will attend the mini-camp.
Fines haven’t seemed to be a major motivating factor for Lynch in the past. He pushed aside media obligations all of last season until being fined $50,000 for not talking during the playoffs. The fine was then stayed if Lynch would meet the requirements of the media policy going forward, which he begrudgingly complied with.
Per Getlin, Lynch is thought to be unhappy with his contract with Seattle. Lynch has two years remaining on the four-year, $31 million contract extension he signed in 2012. He is scheduled to make $5 million in base salary in 2014 and $5.5 million in base salary in 2015 with roster bonuses in each season as well.
Lynch has been one of the premier running backs in the league over the last three seasons. He’s rushed for at least 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns in 47 games over that span. He rushed for 1,257 yards on 301 carries and 12 touchdowns for the Seahawks last season.
However, the running back position has been devalued throughout the league. Chris Johnson, who rushed for 1,077 yards with Tennessee last season, signed for just two years, $8 million with the New York Jets. Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount combined to rush for 1,545 yards for the New England Patriots last season at a cap cost of approximately $1.5 million. Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell combined for 1,530 yards for the New York Jets at a cost of approximately $2.2 million.
Teams are finding productive runners for less and less money. Lynch may not be worth the cost to Seattle after this season and a raise certainly would seem to be unlikely.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell also said last week the team planned to be more “running back-by-committee” this season with Robert Turbin and Christine Michael becoming more involved. Bevell has since softened his comments but Lynch skipping the mini-camp could be a response to potentially having his workload reduced.
For a head coach in Pete Carroll that constantly preaches an “always compete” philosophy, he can’t be thrilled that one of his players isn’t participating in the offseason program. The team will find out Tuesday just how much Lynch puts weight in the term “mandatory” when their mini-camp gets underway.