I got a text from 710710 yesterday that states:
BREAKING: Clare Farnsworth reports Seahawks will place franchise tag on Marshawn Lynch if they can’t agree to a multi-year deal.
There’s a couple of ways to take this news. The first one – which I tend to believe – is that the Seahawks feel that Marshawn Lynch and Red Bryant are both equal priorities, but Bryant will be the more likely of the two to re-sign.
It’s a simple, compact theory that makes sense on a lot of levels. He was drafted by the team, he’s so beloved by this coaching staff that they chose to build a whole defense around his unique stillset, and hell, his father-in-law is Jacob Fucking Green! And, by all accounts, he seems like a really humble, loyal guy who would tip any contract tiebreakers toward the Seahawks in a heartbeat. I, and a lot of other fans, want so desperately to believe that the team would do anything and everything to get him back into the fold, so really, this should be a no-brainer.
The other theory behind all this franchise talk is simple: Marshawn Lynch is the more important of the two free agents, and you simply can’t fuck around in this situation.
Yes, you can say that the defense is built around Red Bryant playing end and our line as a whole stuffing the other team’s running game. You can say that, and more or less you’d be correct. But, on the flipside, you can just as easily say that the offense is built around Marshawn Lynch, pounding the football on first & second down, and controlling the clock. Because this offense – at least, as far as it was constructed last season – is nothing without Beastmode.
You can see that with every 100-yard game he had once our offensive line started to gel. You can see that with every time he refused to go down after the first, second, and third hits. You can see that with every time you saw some other running back get stopped for no-gain.
Here’s the deal with this thing: it IS going to be more difficult to re-sign Lynch. He’s a running back, and by the nature of the job, that means his days are already numbered. This is his LAST big contract of his professional career! He won’t have another opportunity to make the kinds of bucks he’s going to make this season (if he’s able to reach an agreement outside of that Franchise Tag). This upcoming signing bonus is all he has. He knows this and the Seahawks know this; that’s why you dangle this threat out there like Death’s scythe. Does he want to risk a season on the Franchise Tag which might ultimately lead to suffering a devastating injury, thereby soaking up every last drop of his value NEXT offseason? Walter Jones could afford to play year-to-year early on in his career because he was a Hall of Famer, and an offensive lineman (who tend to have longer shelf lives than running backs); Beastmode is one hairline fracture in his arch from being a 30 year old Shaun Alexander and he knows it!
At that point, the running back’s only option is to sit out half a season in protest. We’ve already seen how that plays out. Organizations – if they’re smart – never negotiate with terrorists. So, he sits out, then he reluctantly comes back giving about half-effort, followed by injuring himself anyway because he’s been sitting on his ass for two months.
An unspoken element to this whole thing is, while running backs are as disposable as tampons in the NFL, they’re still the primary stars in the league. If you don’t believe that statement, look at your fantasy football draft and tell me which position is picked more in the first two rounds: running backs or quarterbacks? And, for as great as Red Bryant is, you’re not marketing your team on a defensive end who doesn’t get any sacks.
But, you most certainly ARE marketing your team on a guy with a nickname like Beastmode. With a guy who’s got a signature gimick like eating Skittles. With a guy who is as beloved off the field as he is hard-nosed on the field. Marshawn Lynch is the kind of explosive talent we haven’t had on this team since Shaun Alexander’s MVP season in 2005! You give that man enough carries, behind an offensive line in Year 2 under Tom Cable, and even a decent stable of skill players around him: and I guarantee you we’ll be talking about a guy who’s at LEAST in the Top 5 in MVP voting next season.
Red Bryant might be the guy I want back the most, but I’m not the guy making the decisions and writing the checks. Marshawn Lynch is the guy the Seahawks want most, and he’ll be back in the fold next season one way or another.