The question about Marshawn Lynch’s future with the Seattle Seahawks might be one he solves himself, according to general manager John Schneider.
During an appearance on ESPN 710 Seattle radio on Friday, Schneider said of Lynch: “I’m under the impression he is leaning towards retirement.”
That came after Schneider had said the Seahawks “are going to treat him with as much respect as we possibly can here and give him a little leeway to kind of find his way in terms of what he wants to do.”
Lynch has considered retiring in each of the past two offseasons, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he were to walk away.
He also turns 30 in April and is coming off the first season of his career in which he had significant injuries. Lynch missed the last eight games of the regular season after undergoing abdominal/sports hernia surgery.
Lynch’s future has been the subject of much debate the latter half of the season. The team could save $6.5 million against the 2016 salary cap by releasing him and the Seahawks have a younger, cheaper alternative in Thomas Rawls.
If Lynch were to retire rather than be released, it would not necessarily change anything in terms of the salary cap. However, as Pro Football Talk reported, the Seahawks could ask Lynch to repay $5 million in signing bonus money he has received. If that were to happen, that could give the Seahawks some added salary cap relief but likely not until the 2017 season.
Lynch finished the regular season with 417 yards on 111 carries in seven games, averaging 3.8 per attempt, all lows for his career in Seattle. He had 20 yards on six carries in Sunday’s 31-24 divisional playoff loss at Carolina after missing the wild-card playoff win over Minnesota.
Schneider also said he expects tight end Jimmy Graham back in 2016 and said of Graham: “I think people were a little hard on Jimmy. He started going when our offense started going, so I look at it as just part of our maturation offensively. I don’t look at it like he wasn’t the Jimmy Graham of old. You are talking about a guy who gets double (teamed) and bracketed all the time.”
Schneider otherwise largely stayed away from specifics about the futures of players.
Asked about safety Kam Chancellor, Schneider referred to the puzzle of the team’s roster and said, “There will be stuff that’s going to come up all throughout the offseason.” Chancellor held out during training camp and the first two games of the regular season.
As for the overall offseason, Schneider noted the team has 17 unrestricted free agents and said he is “excited for the challenge of keeping this really cool puzzle together. We are going to attack it the way we always have. Not going to go crazy in one area and panic just because we think we are struggling there. We are going to be smart, going to be aggressive.”
Schneider said the goal will be to improve the roster from top to bottom.
“We don’t talk about 53 (the 53-man game-day roster), we talk about 80,” he said. The goal is to have a great roster from top to bottom “so it’s incredibly hard for the coaches to make decisions.
”Two years ago at our 80 when we got to 53, we had 21 players that we let go who played for other teams that season. That’s when other teams are chasing you. That’s when you now you have a darn good roster. That’s what we have to get back to.“
Schneider said he also feels the Seahawks should still be playing. Answering a question about whether they underachieved this season, he said: ”I guess I look at it like it’s a team that’s been to two Super Bowls in a row and five playoff appearances in six years. So our expectations are very high. So yeah, I would say to a certain extent (the team did underachieve).“
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