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The Seattle Backfield, and Why I Would Be a Seller of Marshawn Lynch


Image via Football Schedule.

Here are Seattle’s running back draft picks over the past two years, along with their weight and some athletic measures:

Year Round Pick Player College/Univ Weight 40 Time
2013 2 62 Christine Michael Texas A&M 220 4.54
2012 4 106 Robert Turbin Utah St. 222 4.5
2013 6 194 Spencer Ware LSU 228 4.6

Seattle drafts running backs like your buddy that always seems to go home with the same girl, even if it’s a different girl. They have a type. It’s also worth noting that Seattle drafted two running backs this year even though they have Marshawn Lynch under contract for three years and Robert Turbin played very capably as a rookie. So what conclusions can you draw from Seattle’s recent drafts?

Before we go there, here is Marshawn Lynch’s salary data from Spotrac:

CONTRACT:4 yr(s) / $31,000,000 SIGNING BONUS$6,000,000 AVERAGE SALARY$7,750,000 END YEAR:2015 FREE AGENT:2016 / Unrestricted
2012 4,000,000 1,500,000 5,500,000
2013 7,000,000 1,500,000 8,500,000 11,500,000
2014 5,000,000 1,500,000 500,000 7,000,000
2015 5,500,000 1,500,000 2,000,000 9,000,000
2016 UFA
$17 million guaranteed (2012-13 salaries, signing bonus)
Signing Bonus: $6 million
Incentives (2014-15): $1 million for 1,500+ yards
2014 Roster Bonus: $500,000
2015 Roster Bonus: $2 million

I’m not a cap expert, but I think that the Seahawks can cut Lynch after this year and save themselves the remaining $13 million in salary and bonuses and they would have a cap charge of $1.5 million in each of 2014 and 2015 for the pro-rated part of his bonus. I think that it’s reasonable to assume that SEA is probably not going to be ponying up a $5.5 million salary and a $2 million roster bonus in 2015 (when Lynch will be 29), so then it’s just down to 2014 and whether or not Lynch is an attractive option for the Hawks then. That leads me back to their recent drafts and specifically the fact that they used a 2nd round pick this year (their very first pick of the draft since they traded away their first round pick for Percy Harvin) to take a running back that was probably the most physically talented in the draft.

Want to know what Robert Turbin’s total cap hit will be in 2014? About $500k.

Want to know what Christine Michael’s total cap hit will be in 2014 when he is 24 and Marshawn Lynch is 28? It’ll probably be around $600k or so.

Lynch is already on the injury report most weeks with back spasms. Do you think that’s likely to subside with his running style? Do you think that Lynch’s back spasms weren’t on SEA’s mind at all when they drafted three big running backs in two years?

Even if SEA doesn’t cut Lynch after this year to save money on his salary, if they re-structure him it’s of negative value for his dynasty owners.

Last night on twitter I joked that the Las Vegas Hilton has “Marshawn Lynch to the Arizona Cardinals in 2015” at –300. It was a joke, but it doesn’t sound so crazy now does it?

I’m the recent owner of Robert Turbin in a dynasty league and any hope I had for his value was gone when SEA took Christine Michael, but I only think things are marginally better for Lynch and that’s because he at least has one more year of being the likely lead back.

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