The Seattle Seahawks have managed the salary cap as well as any team in the NFL in recent years. That doesn’t happen by accident. Part of it is how well they have drafted in the later rounds. That is how last season Seattle was able to pay both Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman just over $500,000. The other part is that they simply don’t give out bad contracts. That may sound like an easy rule to follow, yet most teams have a hard time doing it.
That is all bad news for Marshawn Lynch, who decided he is going to hold out for a better contract. Lynch is set to make $5.5 million this year, making him the fourth-highest paid player on the Seahawks. He is not close to the fourth most valuable player on Seattle moving forward. Unfortunately for Lynch, smart teams don’t overpay players based on past performance.
Another thing smart teams don’t do is give new contracts to running backs who have carried the ball over 900 times in the past three seasons. The running back position has become one of the most interchangeable spots on the roster. That makes it difficult for players like Lynch to have any leverage in these situations because it’s not that hard to find a decent running back. Seattle already has Robert Turbin and 2013 second-round pick Christine Michael, who many are very high on.
If that isn’t enough, there are still more reasons why Seattle will not give Lynch a new contract. The cap freedom that comes with having Wilson and Sherman for a fraction of their value only lasts so long. This is essentially the last year of that freedom. Seattle signed Sherman in the offseason to a four-year, $56 million contract, and they also signed Earl Thomas to a four-year, $40 million deal this offseason. Both of these deals have small cap hits for this season and then skyrocket in the following years. Wilson still has two more years on his rookie contract, but Seattle will want to sign him to a long-term deal before he becomes a free agent.
The Seahawks just don’t have the future cap flexibility to sign Lynch, even if they wanted to. The only hope that Lynch has is to get Seattle to guarantee him more money for this upcoming season before their cap situation gets more complicated. He knows he will probably be a cap casualty next year, so getting some of next season’s money upfront is his best-case scenario. The only incentive that Seattle has for doing this would be keeping Lynch happy for this season. That means this will be a long holdout unless Seattle decides to be charitable, which isn’t likely.