SEATTLE (WA)– Beast Mode, Skittles, are just several nicknames that Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has acquired since joining the team last October. An earth-shattering run in the playoffs against New Orleans, eclipsing 1000 yards this season, Lynch has single handily put the Seahawks back on the national stage.
While Pete Carroll and John Schneider have gotten a lot of attention for the 513 roster transactions the club has made over the last year and a half Lynch has been performing on the field. Before Lynch the Seahawks had the likes of Julius Jones, Louis Rankin, and Justin Forsett as featured backs along with the declining Shaun Alexander.
The last time the Seahawks had a 1000 yard rusher was their Super Bowl run in 2005 when Shaun Alexander ran for 1,880 and a then NFL record 27 rushing touchdowns. With Lynch at 1,018 yard with two games to go he’s well on his way to a long-term deal to keep the 25-year old in Seattle.
Pete Carroll said the two sides have already started talking about a long-term contract for Lynch but nothing is imminent. Lynch is just one of several key players the Seahawks need to lockup long-term over the next two years. Tight end John Carlson, defensive end Red Bryant and cornerback Brandon Browner are also unrestricted free agents this offseason.
Carlson, a second-round pick in the 2008 NFL draft is current only injured reserved with a torn labrum and hasn’t played since their playoff game against the Bears. Before his injury Carlson was used mostly in pass protection instead of a pass catching tight end because of Seattle’s weak offensive line. With the signing of Zach Miller from Oakland Carlson isn’t a sure lock to return next season.
If Lynch is priority No.1 for the Seahawks Red Bryant is definitely No.1a.
Since being converted to defensive end when Pete Carroll took over as head coach Bryant has thrived in the role and become a key figure in Seahawks run defense. At 6’4 323-pounds Bryant has emerged as one of the top defensive ends in the league while making only $555,000 this season, a figure that is surely to go up with his next contract.
The player with the most intrigue when it comes to a new contract is “rookie” cornerback Brandon Browner. After spending four years in the Canadian football League Pete Carroll gave the 6’4 corner a tryout and was impressed with what he saw. Browner has played well for the most part this season but still has a long way to go in terms of a full body of work.
Browner is the most penalized cornerback in the league but is still tied for fourth in the league with six interceptions. He also ranks tied for first in passes defensed (19), interceptions return for touchdowns (2) and first in interception return yards (220). Needless to say Browner is an outstanding physical cornerback who does more than draw penalties, but they do hurt.
Carroll and general manager John Schneider love tall cornerbacks and with Browner at 6’4 and Richard Sherman at 6’3 Seattle has the tallest cornerback combo in the NfL. No reason to think that both Carroll and Schneider want to break that combo.
Browner won’t get a Nnamdi Asomugha or Darrell Revis type contract but expect a substantial raise from his $375,000 salary this season.
After this offseason defensive end Chris Clemons and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson are free agents. With Jackson, Seattle needs to decide this offseason what their plan is moving forward. They can’t wait till 2013 when Jackson is a free agent and Josh Portis is the only quarterback under contract.
Raheem Brock, Charlie Whitehurst and Matt McCoy are also free agents this offseason.