What is the future for Marshawn Lynch & the Seahawks?

It’s been a strange 12 months for Marshawn Lynch. A year ago Chris Mortensen was predicting his imminent departure from Seattle, reporting that the Seahawks had “grown tired of his ways”.

Lynch’s play down the stretch changed the dynamic completely. He became the focal point of the offense again as the Seahawks marched back to the Super Bowl. Life was bearable for team and player. He signed a handsome new contract and put off retirement.

Yet after an injury-ravaged 2015 season — and the emergence of Thomas Rawls — what happens now?

Davis Hsu’s Tweet above sums it up. You can save $6.5m by moving on from Lynch in 2016. That’s money that could, theoretically, be reinvested in the offensive line. It could go towards luring someone like Alex Mack if he voids his contract in Cleveland. It could go towards someone like Alex Boone. It could help you keep your best existing lineman in Russell Okung so that you don’t need to replace him in the draft (or hope Garry Gilliam is a better left tackle than right tackle).

On the other hand, are the Seahawks ready to lose such an important part of what they are? And how will it impact the locker room if Lynch is moved?

It’s a tough call for many reasons. And yet this is the big debate people in Seattle will be having until the off-season.

Replacing Lynch looked like the greatest pending challenge for Pete Carroll and John Schneider. For years they’ve been able to rely on Lynch’s punishing, physical style. It was as much about tone-setting and the identity of the team as it was production.

Without Lynch what were the Seahawks?

Watching Rawls has somewhat tempered concerns about life after Beast Mode. He’s not Marshawn Lynch — but even Carroll has dared to compare him loosely to Hall of Famer Earl Campbell.

In some cases he’s even offered a little bit more than Lynch. Does Marshawn run in the long touchdown against Cincinnati? Rawls has a second gear the 29-year-old Lynch currently lacks. When he gets to the second level he has the speed to break it into a big play. And while he might never be the grinding, wear you down over four quarters type — his ability to stretch a play out, find the edge and turn and explode at the second level is a real benefit against any defense that is already accounting for Russell Wilson and Jimmy Graham.

In an ideal world you’d combine the two running backs and share out the snaps. It’s strange, however, that they never really made this a two-headed monster even after Rawls’ 169-yard performance against the Bengals. The following week, when Lynch returned, Rawls had one carry against the Panthers. He had 12 total carries against the 49ers, Cowboys and Cardinals combined. It seems like if Lynch is playing — he’s getting the workload.

Maybe he feels he needs to get into a rhythm? Maybe it’s the way he wears down a defense? Whatever it is — a Lynch/Rawls double act seems unlikely based on the snaps this year. Rawls and another in 2016? That could be a more even split.

Lose Lynch and you lose more than just the on-field production. You lose an icon. A genuine Seahawks great who provided some of the best moments in franchise history. His career will be defined by one particular play against New Orleans.

The Pete Carroll story in Seattle has a whole chapter on Lynch. Maybe even two. Without Lynch — you never truly create the identity Carroll searched for. He’s been at the front and center of everything.

As a consequence he’s also become a powerful locker room presence. Was that a problem at times — as suggested by Mortensen in his report last year? Maybe. But not having Lynch around might be an even bigger problem. He and the likes of Kam Chancellor seem so closely aligned. Can this team remain tight with vital veteran leaders starting to move on?

It really comes down to what gives you the best chance to win. The Seahawks know this is their Championship window — and it’s a window that won’t necessarily extend for years. Key parts of the franchise — Lynch, Chancellor and even Carroll — aren’t going to be around another decade. They might not be here in another 3-4 years. Every decision — whether it’s trading a first rounder for Graham or making the decision to trust Tom Cable to build a cheap, functioning O-line — is made with a ‘win now’ mentality.

If this team can run the ball minus Lynch while improving the offensive line and pass protection — it has to be considered. There won’t be any room for sentimentality. It’s just whether they’re ready to move on if it’s their decision. Lynch could make it easier for them by retiring. What if he doesn’t though? What if he forces the Seahawks to make the decision?

It’d be a heck of a ruthless move by the Seahawks to just move on and save money. And yet it seems like they’ve been planning the future for some time. Mortensen’s report. The drafting of Christine Michael. If they wanted to move on and couldn’t before, will it be right in 2016? If so, you better believe they’ll be ruthless.

Perhaps there is still a chance for the storybook ending. Lynch returning in week 16 or 17 feels ambitious — but this is Marshawn Lynch. Nothing has been conventional to date with Beast Mode. The emotional pull of his last days in Seattle/the NFL could be a secret weapon for the Seahawks if they make the post season. They have to get there to see if there’s any benefit though.

In terms of the draft, it’s a nice class of running backs with some depth. The priority will probably be to go O-line early and then possibly look at a linebacker with Bruce Irvin a free agent. They should be able to find some value in rounds 3-7 (and after all, they found Rawls as a UDFA). Alex Collins (Arkansas), Paul Perkins (UCLA) and Jordan Howard (Indiana) are personal favourites.


  1. sdcoug

    It’s an interesting thought…is our Oline already the average-ish we’ve been hoping for with Rawls, as opposed to Lynch?

    Rawls hits the line quicker and flashes into/thru the hole. Perhaps the holes are there with this group, just not for long. Rawls gets to them before they close, whereas Lynch (at this point) does not. How different do those Bevell run, run, pass calls look when we have 3rd and 1, versus 3rd and 8?

    Two of our best offensive games were at Cinci and home vs SF, both spearheaded by Rawls. Was it just happenstance, or is it Rawls getting to the hole quicker? These next several games will be real interesting

    • Rob Staton

      Fantastic question. Well worth looking into.

    • Tien

      Good point. Rawls does seem quicker than Lynch through the holes but Lynch is still amazing in his ability to shake and avoid tackles behind the line. In the Cardinals game, Lynch was effective running the ball except that he only got the ball 12(?) times, due in part to the penalties that made us be at 1st & 15 or 20 on about five drives. It’ll be interesting to see how Rawls performs as the Man for a few straight games. And man, it will be a sad day for us Seahawks fans if this is how Lynch goes out.:(

      • Steele

        Rawls may indeed be quicker to the hole, better able to make more, sooner, out of lesser blocking. He is also a smaller back, which helps.

        On the other hand, if you look back at film of Lynch this season, it is hard to pin blame on him for any lack of quickness. The o-line was horrible in those games. Defenders were often already in the backfield before Lynch could take a step.

        Would Rawls have gone better in those exact situations than Lynch did? Hard to say. And I do think we need to take that 49ers game with a big grain of salt. That was the pitiful 49ers. We will see from this point forward.

        Meanwhile, Fred Jackson has been a disappointment. Far slower than expected.

        I predict that if Rawls plays like an NFL starter from here, Lynch and Kam both will be encouraged to exit. In Lynch’s case, gradually phased out without malice.

        • Volume12

          I think teams knew Thomas Rawls was a good one. And not just Seattle. But, the fact he had ‘character concerns,’ had never played in more than 9 games in a season, meant he was goung to be an UDFA.

          This is the guy Dallas wanted to replace DeMarco Murray with. They had a draft crush on him. It makes ya wonder, how many other teams felt the same way?

          Why do we need to take the 49ers game with a grain of salt? It’s just luke back in August during TC when people kept saying Rawls wasn’t any good, when he did it was against back-ups, and RB Rod Smith was sooo much better.

          But, it was the skill-set that Rawls has and showed, even back then. He’s legit man.

          • Nathan

            Rawls had a pretty tough day against Detroit. As did the entire O line.

          • Steele

            I withhold final opinion until Rawls dominates vs. a top run defense.

            • onrsry

              Pittsburgh is #5 run defense in the NFL now, it’ll be a good test for Rawls. But i think even against 49ers 209 yard running is just great.And there wasn’t a 60 yard run.His YPC was 7.0

              Plus, he did it against Bengals too,on the road and they were 9th best run defense then.I don’t agree with ”grain of salt” comments because it is obvious Rawls is special and it’s not a fluke.He ran for 100+ yards in 3 of his 4 starts.That Detroit game was not his fault, run blocking was awful, almost half of run plays were stuffed by Lions DL, before Rawls got to line of scrimmage he stopped by two D-Lineman because of bad OL,there was no where to run.

              If Rawls will run for another 100+ yards against Steelers’ good run D, that will prove his talent to all doubters. And that would mean he can run against every defense in the NFL, if he gets decent blocking.

              • onrsry

                I think Rawls’ harmony with this OL is like that DeMarco Murray had with Dallas OL.He just fits great.Reads blocks very well.

  2. EranUngar

    Lynch is way more than his output on the field. He is setting the tone for this offense attacking any defense they face physically. Rawls impressive performance on sunday was made with 5-6 OL players against 6 men in the box for the 9ers. It wont last for long when he faces the Lynch treatment with 8 men in the box.

    Having said that, the Seahawks currently have 20-25M cap space for 2016. They will need to make hard decisions with 6 starters ending their contracts – Okung, Sweezy, Kearse, Mebane, Rubin and Irvin.

    For some reason nobody mentions the need of DT/nose tackle. The middle of the base defense will be gone by the end of the year. The OL may be in better shape than the DL by the end of the year.

    They need the cap space to resign/replace those key players. Saving 10M by letting Lynch go and cutting Williams could be very tempting when the season ends.

    If this OL keeps its improvement curve they may be very happy if they can keep 4 of the 5 and add a veteran in FA. We may end up with a CB & DT in the first 2 days of the draft.

    • Rob Staton

      I think the need at DT is overstated in some cases. This team has consistently found veteran pieces to work the interior. whether it’s Tony McDaniel, Kevin Williams, Clinton McDonald of Athyba Rubin. I suspect there’s a chance they retain Mebane and then add another vet or later round pick into the mix. Maybe they even keep Rubin too. Truly great interior DL’s are very hard to find and there don’t appear to be any in this class. Some good ones, but I wouldn’t want to go in that direction over OL.

      • C-Dog

        I enjoy mentioning and probably overstating the need for DT all the time. If parting ways mean bringing on Muhammad Wilkerson to play along side Brandon Mebane, I’m all over it! But not going to hold my breath. The great interior DL’s that hit free agency are breaking the bank. That’s why I see the need to draft players with upside higher than rounds 4 to 6. Keep Mebane and sign another JAG, if you must, but get another player that can push and distrupt the pocket who isn’t Mike B. Jordan Hill has been a bit disappointing there so far this year.

        • Rob Staton

          Wilkerson would be out of range I suspect. Elite player, will get a mega deal from either the Jets or someone else.

      • Steele

        Mebane has only been average this season. Same with Rubin. They need to reinforce that interior rush.

        • Rob Staton

          Easier said than done. Nobody was complaining about Mebane last year. Could just be a slight drop off as the defense overall has dropped off.

          • Volume12

            Why spend an early pick on a run-stuffing DT? It’s a position that prospects in the later rounds can bring the same skill-set to the table.

            I’m sure Cleveland was flat-out giddy they took nose tackle/DT Danny Shelton.

            I can’t think of one team that’s won a SB recently that had invested a high draft pick in a DT.

            • RealRhino2

              I don’t know about a purely run-stuffing DT, but I don’t think late 1st is too early if the guy is really good. NE took Wilfork in 2004, won SB and of course had a ton of success since then. Ravens took Ngata at #12, won SB four years later, great contributor. Pittsburgh took Casey Hampton at #19, won SB four years later.

              I don’t think any of those guys are the *reason* they won the SB, but I think they were a big part of good defenses that helped win the SB, just as a WR or OLB can be a big part.

              If we are fortunate enough this year to be picking in the 20s and all of, say, Tunsil, Coleman, Stanley, Decker and Conklin are gone, I’d be just fine seeing, say, Ashawn Robinson on our draft card (or whoever else you prefer that can hold the point of attack and also collapse the pocket some on passing downs.

              • Volume12

                All 3 of those teams are or were 3-4 defenses, where you have build around a good NT. They aren’t 4-3/1 gaping DTs.

            • Rob Staton

              Agreed V12. I’m pretty confident this team will never draft a run stuffer early.

            • Nathan

              Carolina May do this year.

              New Englands last 2 1st rounders were defensive interior.

              • Volume12

                Seattle isn’t New England. Easley and Malcom Brown were both better than any DT being mocked early this year.

                Carolina took Star Lotulelei and he’s been awful the past 2 years.

                • Trevor

                  Agree Vol unless there is a penetrating DT in the form of an Aaron Donald this team will not take a DT early. I do think they really liked Easly and his connection to Dan Quinn and may have taken him. Even so he is not a run stuffer but more of a penetrating DT. We have other needs that are far more critical with the scheme this team runs.

                  • Volume12

                    Yeah- I’m not opposed to taking a DT early, but only if their along the lines of a Dominique Easley, Sheldon Rchardson, Aaron Donald, etc. Someone that’s a true 3 down player.

                    I agree about Easley. They seemed to really like him.

          • Steele

            Rob, Mebane was better last season. The “belly roll” moments have been few this year. Yes, agree, we are back again at the hard-to-pin-down reason the defense overall is not as dominating as it was.

      • Ehurd1021

        What the Seahawks ask out of there D-line in base isn’t to be great tho. They aren’t ask to really be necessarily pass rushers – reason why they go to more pass rushing packages in their nickle. What they are asked to do is to hold their gaps (1 or 2 gap players) and stay stout and strong on run downs and to also keep OG off the ILB so they can flow sideline to sideline and make plays. They really aren’t asked to do what you see other interior D-line players do around the league as far as playing in more space.

        I think personally the loss of Tony McD and Clinton McD weren’t necessarily talked about enough because of there unique characteristics they had that we couldn’t replace. There wasn’t a more productive (pass rush, hurries, and tackles) in the league in 2013 than Clinton McD who came back after getting released like a man on a mission. His productivity and ability to push the interior pocket is what we loss that we haven’t replaced and it hurt us this year and last, especially in the NFCCG and Super Bowl. There may not be any interior D-line players who flash – which Seattle wouldn’t have a shot at anyway because they go early – but I’m sure there are some pretty good ones that can do what Seattle ask there D-line to do.

        • Volume12

          But, if they don’t want DTs that are great, why waste a premium pick on one?

          Your right, they don’t ask a lot of their DTs, so doesn’t it make more sense to add cheap vets and later round picks?

          • Ehurd1021

            Because I really don’t think about it from a conventional standpoint… I don’t think you can with this defense. The reason why I see a reason to place a premium on them now is basically because they haven’t been able to replace those interior D-line players on a defense that’s entire functionality is based on playing base defense even when most teams would probably be in nickle.

            Maybe as Rob pointed out there maybe some of those players who fit that mold who are vets in FA. But you will see most teams overpay for those players because they are at a premium – think about the contract Clinton McD got from Tampa because of the 2013 season. So really to sum it up the reason why I do feel a need to put a priority on it this off-season was, we haven’t been able to replace those players in two years, we might lose Bang who IMO is the best 1-tec in football still and its really a premium position on this defense which we need to replace to get back to a elite level. That along with finding another CB who can solidify that second field CB spot because through competition and skill and not necessarily lack of bodies and injuries.

        • Rob Staton

          I think they’ll find options, probably in FA. Low cost, high upside options. Although I expect Mebane to be back.

          • Ehurd1021

            Who do you like in FA this year at the D-line spot that can fill that need?

            You also have to ask yourself if a vet will want to come into this team and change his entire mentality to fit the Seahawks style and system. I know Kevin Williams was able to do it, but was that a unique situation once Mebane got hurt for the season…. Kevin Williams found himself as the starting DT on the best overall defense in the league over night.

            • Volume12

              You said it yourself. This team isn’t conventional.

              This D is built from the back end to the front end. Basically the opposite of what every team does.

              They’ve found multiple vets over the years to plug in. If they truly valued those types, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Seems to me they back themselves and trust in finding stop-gap vets and later round selections.

              If a vet ‘has’ to adapt to Seattle’s style, which I don’t buy, why would a rookie contrubute sooner?

              • Ehurd1021

                Because a rookie doesn’t basically needs to be potty trained. He doesn’t have to break bad tendencies (Cary Williams) that develop. A rookie doesn’t have to resort to going back to bad technique or tendencies that now put the entire defense in a bad spot… especially in the Seahawks defense which is much more gap based and not beat the man in front of you. I think that is the main issue when it comes to vets. Yes they are a known commodity but they also carry more on field baggage in someways.

                I think the Seahawks found that out with Carry Williams this year… they like things done a certain way in their techniques and styles.

                • Volume12

                  Wel’ll have to agree to disagree about not training a rookie as opposed to a vet.

                  • C-Dog

                    Personally I’m never suggested drafting a DT that is purely a run stuffer early. I have long maintained that if Seattle were to draft the position early, it would be for a player they felt could provide pass rush inside, and potentially be a 3 down player. Players that provide versatility would certainly appeal. Seattle has shown interest in these players in the draft before. D linemen like Jonathan Bullock, Jonathan Allen, Adolphus Washington, Deforest Buckner potentially could appeal to them a lot inside the first couple rounds.

                    If they retain Okung, Sweezy, Sign Mack, they can still draft RT high. If the price is too high to retain Mebane, but they can take a low cost flyer on a younger vet, and draft DT in round 2 or 3 that can eventually become a starter who is a 3 down player, is that a terrible idea?

                    Good 3 down interior players can be drafted in R2. Kawann Short, Stephen Paea, are a couple pretty good examples. It’s possible.

                    And don’t get me wrong, it’s not like Mebane and Rubin are terrible. I think Mebane is on a decline, maybe that helps them retain him on a much lesser deal. They can still probably squeeze another decent season, maybe two out of him.

                    I know they have gotten by fabulously in the past by being built from the back end forward, but let’s go back to 2013. That D Line feature from left to right Bryant, McDaniel, Mebane, Clemmens. They had rotating in Bennett at 3 tech and 5 tech, Clinton McDonald as the pass rushing Nose, Avril pass rushing at his comfortable LE spot. Throw in Bruce Irvin just for sh#ts and giggles, and yeah.. that was a historically special defense.

                    With Bryant at LE, it took away the RIGHT SIDE OF THE FIELD for offenses to run the ball. That was a huge advantage. Clem was a top level LEO playing against the run on his own right.

                    In 2014, there was a noticeable drop off, although Jordan Hill emerged. The game in KC was painful to watch as Charles ran through and around that D. The panthers handled Seattle pretty well on the ground this year, as did the Rams, and Cincy a bit.

                    This year they get good edge rush from Avril, Bennett, and Bruce when healthy. They get occasional pass rush push from Hill. Randomly Frank Clark will flash on spotty occasion, but hasn’t lived up to the preseason hype. The interior base down play of Rubin/Mebane is decent, overall they play the run pretty well. They don’t always get great push. Sometimes I see Rubin stood up, sometimes he looks a little velcro getting off his blocks, and he’s not much of a penetrator. He doesn’t seem like the bad ass street fighter McDaniel at times was. Hill has been playing the run almost better than the pass. He looks resigned to playing as a back up nose.

                    This is why it spells out to me that they might be either looking to make an upgrade in free agency, or the draft, especially with only Hill left on a deal. They might do a combination of both. It would be great to get back to 2013. It’s harder to do that in FA with all the big contracts on the team. It’s more likely for them to look more in the draft. Just my humble non professional defensive line obsessing opinion.

                    • Rob Staton

                      I could see a scenario like this — keep Hill as the nickel interior rusher, re-sign Mebane to a cheap deal (he’s 31 in January) and look for options in FA if they want to move on from Rubin.

              • cover-2

                In the Pete & John era I wouldn’t go so far to say that our defense is built from the back end to the front. We have only drafted one DB in the first three rounds and signed no decent quality DB free agents, Pete & John have just hit on a lot of mid-late round DB’s. Whereas we have drafted 3 d-lineman in the first three rounds and signed two quality d-lineman (Avril & Bennett).

                I’m personally okay with taking a DT in the first or second round. But for this year’s o-line early is a must. If a OT falls within reach, that our front office loves, then I would like to see us trade up in 1st and go and get their guy.

    • Glor

      I just don’t feel you can have 30+ million tied up behind the oline. now that RW has been paid, we can’t afford to have a marquee back. Wilson now has to show that he can do it like Brady does it, etc. With cheaper pieces behind center, and Rawls fits that bill in my mind.

      • Ehurd1021

        But me and you and everyone on this board knows the chances of that happening are slim… very slim. But I do agree with what you are saying. Russell Wilson is being payed like a ELITE player… time for him to show it.. I agree.

  3. Attyla the Hawk

    I’ve long been critical of the notion that we need to get ‘the next Lynch’. Even despite banging the drum for the hope that Seattle would be able to get Gurley late in R1 (prior to the draft and expectation that he’d play this year).

    The fact is, there are a lot of backs that can and do produce in unique ways in this league. We didn’t (and still don’t) need the next Lynch. We need someone to be the first [insert name here]. Someone that brings a new uniqueness to the position.

    I love the fact that Rawls shares some traits with Lynch — namely toughness, but brings other attributes to the table while leaving others out. Because even if he isn’t ‘the one’ to replace Marshawn — the precedent is now set firmly that Seattle can still be a great running team with a back not named Marshawn Lynch.

    It is incredibly fortunate that it appears early on that we may end up getting first round value without having to have spent a draft pick. That’s just huge. Not unlike discovering a franchise QB without having to spend a top 10 pick to get him.

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t think there’s ever been a notion of finding the next Lynch. He’s truly unique. Not even Todd Gurley compares perfectly. I think the notion was rather — finding someone who can replace him and be effective. Because Turbin wasn’t that guy. Michael wasn’t that guy. And they needed to keep looking.

    • bigDhawk

      What we need is a back that will bludgeon defenses in the first half and wear them out by the fourth quarter. Whether that is the ‘next Lynch’ or Rawls or whoever, our next back needs to be able to do that.

  4. C-Dog

    I think the biggest negative issue of moving on from Lynch is if it creates some form of mini revolt in the locker room. I was stuck on Doug Baldwin’s words after the Cincy game when asked about the performance of Rawls. He was quick to temper it, and followed it by saying essentially that this team depends on Lynch, and he doesn’t want to think what they would be without him.

    My first thoughts were, A: Nice vote of confidence on your QB, and B: Hmm, is that a good thing if the locker room consensus that they don’t want to think of a future without their 30 year old banged up running back? My hope is that if Lynch is shelved for an extended time, the boyz in Seahawk blue start seeing a silver lining in the positive play of Rawls.

    If Rawls continues this upward trend, and they move on from Lynch, and that money helps retain Okung and add a solid veteran to the line either at Center or RT, that takes the sting out of it considerably. They can still draft OL high in the first depending on veteran player added. Personally, I would rather have them sing a veteran at Center and not break in a rookie unless that rookie is special.

    LT: Okung
    LG: Britt
    C: Mack
    RG: Glowinski/Sokoli
    RT: Conklin

    RB depth

    Not too shabby.

    • GameHawks

      I would actually be surprised if the Seahawks would feel any differently about the departure of Lynch, because he has been the tone setter on offense since the “Beast Quake.” It seems like in any working environment when you have a new person come in, and right from the beginning they perform at a high level, that the people who have been there longer are slow to warm up to the change of pace. The veteran workers generally seem content that things are still moving forward in a positive direction, but they are hesitant to fully embrace this new-comer into their ranks until more familiarity has been established. It’s on Rawls at this point to prove to not only himself, but the veteran players that he can be that go to guy. No one will ever replace the aura that Marshawn created around himself, but someone is going to have to replace his role as a smash-mouth running-back that has become a cornerstone of Seattle’s identity. The matchup against Pittsburgh this weekend will be a great game to watch, so that we can see how the team bounces back after learning that one of their leaders will be out of action for a time. GO HAWKS!

      • C-Dog

        Yeah, Pittsburgh has a top 5 rushing defense, but they are 28 in pass defense. I suspect Rawls will not have the game he had last week, but if he can still be effective and rush somewhere close to 100 yards, I think that continues to say a lot.

  5. Tbone4444

    Interesting and timely piece, Rob. I do think that Marshawn’s legacy on and off the field can’t be understated. I doubt we would have accomplished all this without him. However, cap space is precious and it may be worth the chemistry/locker room gamble if the Hawks hand is forced. Fascinating times for us long time fans who remember the old days….honestly good to have these sort of issues instead of worrying about moving the franchise or needing total organizational makeovers…

  6. Ty the Guy

    I’ll start this off with a disclaimer that I am a romantic. Especially when it comes to sports. It is my sincere desire to see the great players of my teams, like Marshawn, ride off into the sunset after a Super Bowl victory.

    But, I am also a realist. I see that our offensive line needs some serious attention this off-season. Personally, I would feel better signing a veteran or 2 to go along with a few draft choices, rather than trusting Cable can get the guys to gel in time. To do that, we need cap room.

    I have always held the belief that running backs are replaceable. These guys spend their football lives taking punishment. By the time they reach the NFL, their days are numbered. This is why I am against RBs being drafted in the early rounds. You will always be able to find a guy to run the ball later on.

    That being said, Marshawn is different. He sets the tone. The entire team feeds off of his energy. He gave us our identity. So to conclude my ramble, I say we find a way to feature both backs. Rob pointed out that despite the success of Rawls they have not implemented a two back situation. I think Beast Mode will benefit from a drop in carries. I think Rawls deserves more carries. I think the tandem would cause headaches for opposing defenses.

    What is the hold up?

    • sdcoug

      let me play Devil’s Advocate here: that same “tone and energy” has led the team to a 4-4 record (prior to the SF game, which Lynch didn’t play). So at this point, how important is it really?

      Don’t get me wrong, Lynch will forever be a Seattle icon. But NE and Belichick are consistently lauded for their willingness to move on from a player one year PRIOR to their decline or pay day. As much as we love Lynch, and considering the cap savings that can be allocated elsewhere, perhaps it is time

      • CharlieTheUnicorn

        NE is not the norm, they are the exception. There is so much smoke around them “cheating” that I’m not sure what to think. But the point is valid, you have to be able and willing to let guys go 1 year too early than 1 year too late.

        I would like to see Lynch traded to the Raiders, even if it was only a low round pick. I think it would be a fitting end to his football career, ending where he started as a youth. A little tiny piece helping them come back from the football grave of the last 13 or so years.

        • GameHawks

          Lynch seems destined to return Cali at some point, what with his charity work and all. As a Seahawks fan though, I’m not ready to let go of Beast Mode. Call me sentimental, but he has brought something to this region’s sports scene that had not been here since the 90’s Mariners team IMO. It would be fantastic if he could heal up from his surgery, and come back to play again as a Seahawk. I’m optimistic, but I also understand how difficult it can be to return to full form after any type of athletic surgery.

  7. drewdawg11

    The concerning part to me is how several of the players seem to have such a powerful say in the team. Are we really so worried that certain players would revolt if we cut ties with a certain player? Maybe it’s time to clean house. You can’t allow the players dictate personnel moves. If Kam wants to throw another tantrum this offseason then trade his butt. I have loved watching marshawn over the past 5 years, but he’s aging and rarely plays healthy. He makes a lot of money and this team needs to fill holes. If the players don’t want to win, ship them out. Clear cap space and get extra picks. I’m tired of the drama.

    • Volume12

      Special players get special treatment. It’s just how it is. All across the board in every locker room in the NFL.

      • drewdawg11

        Good teams don’t tolerate this.

        • drewdawg11

          This team tasted success and decided to get selfish. When that happens you have to decide if you can survive this mentality or not. If players start to believe that they are bigger than the organization… You make other arrangements and see how they enjoy being “the man” in a bad team.

          • Volume12

            Dude, every guy in the league beleives their ‘the man’ or ‘the best.’ In reality only a handful or two inside an NFL locker room are indeed special.

            ‘Good teams don’t tolerate this.’ Since when?

  8. OC Hawk

    Here’s what I envision:

    Rawls carries the torch for the rest of the regular season and we make the playoffs. Marshawn (my all-time favorite Seahawk – sorry Tez and Kenny) comes back enough to get some carries in the wild card game, which we of course win. He comes back even stronger through the rest of the playoffs and into the Superb Owl. We get to send him off into retirement much like Jerome Bettis (sorry about bringing up THAT game) and Ray Lewis…with a Championship!

    Go ‘Hawks!

    • CharlieTheUnicorn

      Vs the Steelers…… win and send him off in style, ala The Bus send off (perfect football justice).

    • GameHawks

      I’d buy that movie!

      • Trevor

        Me too!

  9. no frickin clue

    I love Lynch. I love the energy and the tone he sets for the offense and how he is the tip of the sword that beats opposing defenses into submission. But all good things must come to an end, and we’re wringing our hands about what to do about the inevitable (Father Time is undefeated). Yet I haven’t seen anything here that even broaches the subject of this becoming Russell Wilson’s team instead of Marshawn Lynch’s team. Why?

    Is Pete’s and John’s approach to the offense, their philosophy, so rigid that they cannot build an offense that revolves around their QB first? Are we saying, effectively, that Russell Wilson is unsuitable for that role? A QB who can win ‘best supporting actor’ but not ‘best actor’? And the other 10 pieces of the offense, are they capable of functioning in this alternative way? I suspect that they are, with a few new cogs on the offensive line that are better in pass pro, even if it means sacrificing some of the run game, since it is hard to find guys who can excel at everything.

    Maybe this calls into question the topic of finding a system that fits the players vs. finding the players that fit the system. But Lynch is so unique, in so many ways, that I think this is a question worth exploring.

    • CC

      I agree with you and if you look back at Pete’s USC teams, while he had a solid running game, it was often the QB play that helped them win championships.

      Marshawn has been my favorite player since we traded for him – and I would hate for the injury to be his last go round in Seattle. Let’s hope he comes back this season and that the team can make it into and make a run in the playoffs. But each year, all those hits are taking a toll on Marshawn – I hope he can retire rather than be cut, but one way or the other, this is likely his last year in Seattle.

      Now is Rawls “the guy”? I’m not sure yet – but I think he can be a solid player going forward. But as you write above, at some point you can’t pay your QB $21m and not him be the cog that makes the team go. Time for Russell to step up and show he is THE guy on offense.

      Let’s be grateful for every snap we get to see of Marshawn!

  10. AlaskaHawk

    “It really comes down to what gives you the best chance to win. The Seahawks know this is their Championship window — and it’s a window that won’t necessarily extend for years. Key parts of the franchise — Lynch, Chancellor and even Carroll — aren’t going to be around another decade. They might not be here in another 3-4 years. Every decision — whether it’s trading a first rounder for Graham or making the decision to trust Tom Cable to build a cheap, functioning O-line — is made with a ‘win now’ mentality.”

    I’ve been thinking about how long that window of time is. There are a number of elements, including coaching, a good QB, solid offensive performance, solid defensive performance and special teams.

    Lets break that down for a minute. Coaching, PC won’t be there forever but he has brought two of his sons in to the organization. Will they inherit the coaching positions? Does anyone really trust Cabel and Bevell once PC isn’t around? Quinn might be there for the next 10 years. But Cabel and Bevell seem like they have already reached the end of their career. PC might last another 2 to 5 years. Window 2-5 years.

    QB Russell Wilson, signed for four years, probably will last another 10 years. He is a critical component but has to continue to improve in his reads and passing ability. He is already showing a loss of speed in the running game. Window 10 years unless stolen by another team.

    Offensive performance, the bar continues to be set pretty low by the current group. I’ll give them a 10 for effort and a 3 for actual performance. Obviously need to build up the offensive line. Sorry but Marshawn Lynch no longer defines this team. Unfortunately RW hasn’t stepped up either this year. So I’ll just say the window is half open for the offense.

    Defense, the line seems better this year. The linebackers seem really good. Secondary not so good but could improve with injured players returning. Overall I would say their window is 2 years before a complete rebuild of defensive ends, linebackers and secondary will be required.

    Special teams, they reinvent themselves each year. Dependent on players and coaching. Window is half open.

    Overall the team will continue the building process each year. Many of their past attempts have not worked out well. The single thing they could do that would be most helpful in the team building process is to stop trading first round draft picks. We are missing three potentially elite players because of this policy – with little in the way of gains for it. Even if you don’t believe there is a player worthwhile in the late first round, you can still trade down or trade into the next year.

    I’m going to say the window is 10 years long based on Russell Wilson’s career.

  11. Volume12

    I totally get the cap implications of keeping Lynch, and releasing/cutting him clears space. But, to me, I think you kerp him if he wants to play, and I believe he does. I can’t see Lynch going out on the shelf. Maybe that’s with another team, but if they were ready to move on from Lynch after this year would they have given him the option of coming back?

    I’m not sure you mess with culture and bond that Lynch has inside the locker room with this team.

    If Lynch wants to keep playing for us, Seattle will surely find a way to make it work. It’s up to him.

    • Steele

      I think Lynch will be more welcome to stay than Kam, who not only caused a disruption, but has underperformed since coming back.

      • Volume12

        If Kam was going anywhere, they would’ve done it all ready.

  12. Ehurd1021

    Something that needs to be noted – and I think its something that many people don’t want to touch on – is the ripple, and very much negative effect that will come with releasing Lynch in the locker room. We as Seattle fans understand what the style of Lynch brings to this team – hard noised, gritty, tough and nastiness that resonates throughout the entire football team… that is rare. Lynch is a team favorite and a guy that everyone in that locker room loves. Now we get to the Super Bowl… you might not believe it and its hard to wrap your head around I know because of its magnitude, but many players on the roster felt that the call to not give Lynch the ball had to do with Bevell and Lynch’s (horrible) relationship, the idea that they wanted Wilson to be the MVP, and the fact that Seattle wanted to start the move then from Lynch. I know the contract talks came during that time… but sometimes unique players call for unique circumstances.

    You also have to bring up what several media pundits brought up during that off-season, and it became much more louder during the Kam holdout, which was the feeling that Pete Carroll act of being a “players coach” was fake. I think that started with not giving Shawn the ball, not moving on from Bevell (which several players wanted it… some say that is what Shawn demanded after the Super Bowl or he would retire, but he softened up eventually), and then the issues that started with the Kam situation. I think we can look at the Kam situation and say from a business standpoint the holdout didn’t make sense, the organization was right in its stance…. but from a player perspective it made Pete Carroll look shady in someways.

    So if you release Lynch – which in someways will be looked at as disrespect because of what Lynch gave this team (maybe his future lively hood) because of his style – does Pete Carroll lose this locker room even more. You also have to ask yourself if Lynch is done, which nothing this year makes me think he is. He looked good Vs. Arizona with a hernia. Does he come back after this layoff fresh and just as good. That is a huge chance if your Seattle to release a very unique player in the middle of a championship window.

    • Trevor

      How does Kams holdout make Pete look shady in any way shape or form?

      • Ehurd1021

        I got that from Stephen A. Smith, who reported that several players in the Seahawks locker room felt that his actions – not fighting for Kam more – showed that. A long with several other issues. Its not opinion, I supported the organization and felt that the holdout was a bad choice. Just saying what reporters said. I also really cant just say that Smith made that up either…. Kam called Smith first to tell him he was reporting, he broke the story first.

        • Rob Staton

          Stephen A Smith also said Lynch might hold out for the Rams game this year. He says a lot of things.

          • Scraps

            Stephen A Smith is the national sports media Geoff Baker.

    • Rob Staton

      “I think that started with not giving Shawn the ball, not moving on from Bevell (which several players wanted it… some say that is what Shawn demanded after the Super Bowl or he would retire, but he softened up eventually)”

      This is just rampant speculation that does nobody any favours.

      • Nathan

        Believing that a play call was designed, when we’re behind with a minute to go, to make a certain person MVP is silly.

    • cover-2

      I think there is a good chance Pete will lose the locker room if Lynch is traded or released after this year, not so much if they trade Kam.

  13. Trevor

    I think in a perfect world Marshawn comes back. We go on a great playoff run and he plays well then rides off in the sunset back to Oakland till it is time to come back and get in the ring of honor.

    He has been a great back and the heartbeat of the team but 30 yr old RBs tend to get hurt and never bounce back as strong.

    I hate to say it but the Hawks look more like the 2013-2104 Hawks offense when Rawls plays than when Beast does.

    The only question you have to ask yourself is the one Rob mentioned on the podcast yesterday. What would you sooner have Rawls (RB) + Alex Mack (C) or Beast (RB) and Nowak (C)?

    Hate to say it but the answer is no brainer I think.

    • rowdy

      My thoughts as well, love Lynch but the cap space for the level of play just isn’t there.

  14. line_hawk

    I love Lynch & Kam and what they have done for the team. And, they are players best defining Seattle’s identity during the Super Bowl run. However, both seem to be on the decline with wear and tear. I will understand if they are kept around next year for emotional reasons with PC being a player’s coach and all; however for pure football reasons, Seattle cannot afford them and needs to look to future leaders and difference makers.

    A lot of people were saying the similar things about a leadership void when Red Bryant & Sidney Rice left. But with so much of our code in their prime, it shouldn’t be difficult to find leaders on the team.

    Rob, I loved your previous article breaking down how Graham’s presence might be causing the offense trouble. It would be great to similarly discuss our defensive struggles and what could be done in the offseason to fix it? Change of scheme? Defensive coordinator? players?

    • Rob Staton

      For me it’s execution, predominantly at the second level. Better play in the secondary. A strength has become a weakness. That is the key to improvement — not so much major changes on defense.

  15. Volume12

    Rob, I know you weren’t a huge fan of his, IDK where ya stand now, but could Michigan St DE/OLB Shilique Calhoun be an option for Seattle at that SAM ‘backer spot? He’s been quite impressive this year. I’m just not sure if he can be a SAM in a 4-3. Thoughts?

    • CharlieTheUnicorn

      I’m of the belief, Seattle will be looking for 2 types (position) of guys high in the draft.
      The first will be a DT/DE capable player, the second will be a DE/LB type of player…
      This would bring maximum scheme flexibility and enable greater competition across three positions.

      For example
      Sheldon Day, DE/DT, Notre Dame <——— Fav for 1st round pick if Seattle has to go with someone at DE/DT
      Jonathan Bullard, DE/DT, Florida
      Yannick Ngakoue, DE/OLB, Maryland <——- Fav for 2nd round pick, if Seattle goes with a LB type
      Dadi Nicolas, OLB/DE, Virginia Tech

      One last thing, Eric Striker, OLB, Oklahoma is a bit small.. he looks like a player that would fit into a Cardinals or Steelers defense nicely as a safety type. A guy who can do lots of things in a flexible scheme defense, but not necessarily anything great. So, very much doubt he would find a home in Seattle. Sorry guys.

      • C-Dog

        I think the knock on Sheldon Day is, while he plays active and with a lot of heart, that he has shorter arms and gets washed out on run plays a lot, where as Jonathan Bullard supposedly holds up pretty well at the point of attack for an interior D lineman his size. But I agree with you, if they take a front 7 player early, they will be looking at versatility. I think that if they were interested in Dominique Easley a couple years ago, they are still probably pretty interested in finding that type of player. A lot will depend if they feel Frank Clark can comfortably fill that role. So far, I think we’ve seen better play from him outside than inside.

        If they don’t re up on Irvin, they will be loosing a pretty special player. I can see the potential desire to try to find another player to fill the SAM/DE role. I would say the natural transition would be to move KJ to SAM and KPL to man the WILL, but I think Carroll loves what KJ does at WILL and doesn’t want to mess with that.

        • CharlieTheUnicorn

          So the “big” needs on defense-only will be…… some would be found via FA and some via draft/UDRFA

          Priority picks imo Top 5 rounds (They have around 7 picks to play with)
          1 Outside CB
          1 OLB/DE
          1 DT

          Luxury picks imo BPA any-round (They have around 10 picks to play with)
          1 S
          1 Slot CB
          1 DE
          1 ILB/OLB

        • CharlieTheUnicorn

          So the “big” needs on offense-only will be….

          T, C, G

          RB (Back-up), WR (5th WR type), TE (Balanced, 3rd TE), FB, QB (Back-up)

      • Volume12

        Sheldon Day is not a 1st rounder. Arms are too short for Seattle.

        Dadi Nicolas is awful. Way overrated.

        Eric Striker might be small, doesn’t mean he isn’t one of the best LB’s in CFB and one of the most entertaining prospects to watch.

        I like Jonathan Bullard, but IMO he won’t be a pass rusher at the next level. Looks like a 5 tech.

        • Rob Staton

          Agree on Bullard.

    • Rob Staton

      As well as he played against Ohio State — he’s just such an underwhelming underachiever IMO. He’s one of those — he could work it. He could be really good. But I’ll let another team try and work it out. And if he succeeds, oh well.

      • Volume12

        I know what ya mean.

        Thanks for the feedback. Always enjoy your responses.

      • Michael(CLT)

        He is Quentin Coples

  16. Jimmy Chitwood

    While the O Line was a dumpster fire at the beginning of the season, recently it has looked a lot better. The Seahawks lead the league in rushing at 148 YPG. They gave up 31 sacks in their first 7 games but have only given up 4 in the last 3 games. It is too early to draw conclusions but it is possible Cable’s approach to teaching athletic guys to block is paying off. In the event they continue to perform well the rest of the year, our calculus on needing a total rebuild of the offensive line could be off base. It is difficult to introduce more than one new starter per year. anyway. Nowak is new this year but everyone else is a hold over. We also have Glowinski and Sokoli who have yet to be thrown into the fire. At this time, I would advocate that a multi-purpose TE like Hunter Henry would do the O line group more good than any OT.

    Hunter Henry, can block inline and run seam routes down the field. He would force the safeties to protect the middle of the field which would open up the sideline routes. If Jimmy Graham is going to be just a big, outside WR, I think we can do better for less cost. His size is nice but he has not given us anything in the red zone and isn’t fast enough to stretch the defense vertically.

    • AlaskaHawk

      I’m afraid you have mistaken the usual Seahawks offensive line curve. For the last few years they have started like crap, become marginally acceptable by mid season and then look a little above average by end of season. They usually peak in the playoffs – which is great. Then over the summer they slip back to looking like crap again. Is it a player issue? A coaching issue ? Too mamy new players? I really don’t know. I only can implore to please pick a center instead of trying to convert someone. It is hard enough blocking without learning how to snap too.

      Anyway- Seahawks need to keep rebuilding the offensive line with some high to mid round picks.

      • Jimmy Chitwood

        Too much turnover on the O Line is the problem. These guys need to work together for several years. Our 2005 group looked bad for several years before becoming the heartbeat of the team during the SB year. Continuity is important to their play as they must develop an unspoken communications to pick up blitzes and stunts.

  17. Jacob

    So I believe they have to pick between Lynch and Graham in the offseason is what was said. I personally want us to keep Graham if he is happy enough to stay here. Were gonna lose Mebane and either Kam or Bennett. If we sign a good fa like Mack or Boone plus the draft for a lb or DE in the draft to replace Irvin we can survive.

  18. Wall UP

    Lynch remains a Hawk as long as his heart is in it. He takes pride in his performance on the field and the relationships that have been built with his brothers in the locker room.
    Marshawn is intelligent enough to see the development of Rawls and will do whatever is needed to foster his growth as a player and a person. I see a similar relationship being developed, as was the case with he and Jackson in Buffalo. Now the role has come full circle. Marshawn is the Vet that takes the young pup under his wings and teaches him how to be a pro.

    For a run first team, if Lynch is fully back to Beast mode standards with Rawls, don’t be surprised to see him back in the locker room amongst his brothers in 2016. JC has always stated that ‘Marshawn can be a Hawk as long as he wants to be a Hawk’. We just don’t really know if this is the end of the Beast

    • Volume12

      I’m with ya on this one my man. Could not agree more. Lynch seems to love mentoring young backs.

    • Michael(CLT)

      God I hope this is true. I have an unhealthy love of Lynch the person. The thought of no Lynch makes me ill.

  19. DC

    Lynch might be my favorite Seahawk of all time. Definitely the best RB we have ever had imho. I love his game and will miss him when it ends.

    Beast Mode was one potential hand off away from a perfect, fairy tale, ride off into the sunset ending to an incredible career. Didn’t happen, life goes on. For all of our sake I hope he leaves the game as a healthy young man. He will continue to be an icon beyond his NFL days.

    This team needs to keep finding and developing up and comers to take the place of the big money contract players. That is how this so called “Championship Window” remains open.

  20. Nathan

    Off topic, but has anyone read War Room?

    Reading it now.

    The story of the 2007 draft was interesting.

    Their scouts hated the draft so much, they tried to trade every pick.

    They got Moss and Welker via these trades.

    They didn’t even want to use their comp picks.

    The got a 1st rounder for Deion Branch(from seahawks) which they used on Brandon Merrewether, but didn’t want to use their own pick. SF came calling, and traded their 1st rounder for next year.

    SF thought another 1st rounder would make them competitive, it didn’t. So on the year the Pats lost their 1st rounder for spygate, they got the 10th overall pick by way of the SF trade.

    • CharlieTheUnicorn

      I think there is a word for SF since their golden age ended (1995 or so) = BADS

  21. Ed

    Could be a lot of changes next season. Maybe coaches included.


    Expired contracts: Okung/Sweezy/Mebane/Rubin/Irvin/Coleman/Kearse/Shead/Jackson/Dobbs/Lane

    Cap savings: Williams/Lynch/Graham/Hill/Simon


    Bevell (have struggled with the same problems for years)
    Cable (OL – maybe overall philosophy here needs to change)
    Cash (CB – hired 2015, LOB not playing up to the name)
    Curtis (Safeties – hired 2015, LOB not playing up to the name)
    Smith (QB – think Russ needs something else)

  22. Mike B.

    I have a feeling that our RB core in 2016 will be quite young. If Lynch isn’t back, it’ll be something like Rawls (RB1), Top RB draft pick in 2016 (RB2), Some youngish FA who can block and catch decently (RB3), and maybe an undrafted rookie or 2nd year guy (RB4).

    Like many, I see the Seahawks drafting a RB in the 3rd or 4th round. I think that guy will be Alex Collins, Kenneth Dixon, Jordan Howard, or Kareem Hunt. I see them taking another RB in the 7th round or as a UFA, perhaps someone with a special skill set. My pick for that? Tyler Ervin from San Jose State, a small, explosive RB who has good hands and could provide a legit 2nd kick/punt returner to supplement Lockett.

    • icb12

      Really like booker, Collins, and hunt.

      I think we should be on the lookout for hunt later in the draft. Booker and Collins go too early but hunt could be a steal later on. We shall see.

  23. Donald

    Looking at film of the various running backs, the top ranked ones are Elliott, Henry, Collins, Booker. Collins is projected by CBS Sports to go in rd 3, but he is too good to last that long. His running style most resembles Lynch, and I hope the Hawks can pick him. I bet he will be gone by early 2 rd though. Dallas will nab one of these guys, and Jerry Jones is an Arkansas Alum who has taken another RB from there a few years ago.

    Who do the Hawks take with the 32 pick, OL or Collins? I would take Collins, OL in the 2nd rd.

    • JamesP

      Agreed, love Collins, favourite back in the draft (based on very limited film watching!).

  24. Volume12

    Man, how bad is Philly CB Eric Rowe? I get that he’s facing ‘Megatron,’ but dude has no technique whatsoever.

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