The biggest question concerning Marshawn Lynch’s future with the Seahawks no longer is whether the team wants him back in 2015.
That has been settled, with coach Pete Carroll and other team officials saying on multiple occasions in recent weeks that they hope to sign the running back to a new contract, assuring his future with the team in 2015 and beyond.
The question now is whether Lynch wants to suit up for the Seahawks in 2015.
Seattle general manager John Schneider - during an interview Tuesday on ESPN 710 Seattle, the team’s flagship station – confirmed months-long rumors that Lynch might retire.
“Whether or not he wants to play next year, I can’t answer that,” Schneider said in an interview on the “Brock and Salk Show.”
“I don’t know if he knows at this juncture.”
Schneider said Lynch “needs to find out where he’s at” so the Seahawks can move forward with negotiations on a new contract.
Schneider confirmed the team would re-do Lynch’s contract if he returns in 2015, saying “he knows if he’s back he’s not going to be playing at the same number he’s scheduled to make.”
Schneider did not go into specifics of what the team might be offering Lynch. He is scheduled to make a base of $5 million in 2015 with a roster bonus of $2 million and a salary-cap hit of $8.5 million, with $1.5 million in dead money in what is the final season of a four-year deal signed in 2012.
Lynch has a high cap number in 2015, turns 29 in April and runs with a particularly punishing style. All of that helped fuel speculation last summer that the Seahawks might release him before the 2015 season.
But as Lynch embarked on one of his better years in helping lead the Seahawks to another Super Bowl - his average of 4.7 yards per carry was the second-best of his career - it became evident that the Seahawks wanted him back for at least another season.
Team officials, though, know Lynch would want a new deal to return. He held out of training camp for eight days last summer before reporting after the team made some concessions to guarantee an additional $1.5 million in 2014. With the knowledge that the team might consider releasing him after the 2014 season, Lynch wanted more up-front money.
Schneider said Tuesday that the Seahawks didn’t want to re-negotiate Lynch’s contract last summer because he did not want to set a precedent.
If they had, he said, then “everybody would be standing outside my office looking for a new contract whenever they wanted … so he knows that. But he also knows he’s a huge part of what we are doing. He’s just extremely important to what we have going on here and moving forward and the decisions that we make throughout this offseason.”
But now the question is whether Lynch wants to play.
Lynch’s agent, Doug Hendrickson, said in a text message to The Seattle Times on Tuesday only that he would have “no comment” on Schneider’s statements. Lynch has not spoken about his future (or much of anything else).
Schneider noted that the team has played consecutive long seasons – a combined 38 games, including playoffs – and that could be a factor for Lynch.
“It’s hard for these guys,” Schneider said. “We’ve played a lot of football these last two years, and especially the way this guy runs the ball.”
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