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Since this is a family show, I'll provide the image just before the now-infamous money-shot.
DISMISS: Despite the articles and conjecture, Marshawn Lynch will not be a high-demand free agent.
There has been a lot of buzz surrounding Lynch in the last year. He started 2011 with an amazing game-clinching run against the New Orleans Saints. While he was a bit quiet in the first half of the 2011 season, he more than made up for it with the best second-half performance of any running back in the NFL.
Lynch was rewarded with a trip to Hawaii to play in the not-so-Pro-Bowl of 2012, as the contest was mired by soft play. Perhaps they will simply resort to using flags next season. But I've digressed.
Draft analysts have listed Lynch as the best running back that will be available when free agency begins. Bleacher Report articles have listed potential landing spots in Green Bay, Cincinnati, Tennessee and others.
However, none of these teams will be pursuing Lynch, because he won't be available. Head coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider targeted Lynch as the back they wanted to build their offense around and pursued him for months. Eventually the Buffalo Bills agreed to send him to Seattle and received two fifth-round draft picks in return.
Seattle and Lynch's agents have been working on a new contract, and the Seahawks prefer a long-term deal over the franchise tag.
While the sides might not reach agreement on a long-term contract prior to early-March, all that stands in the way of keeping him in Seattle is a $7.6 million franchise tag. In fact, by the time you read this Lynch could have already been franchised by the Seahawks, as teams can begin to designate players on February 20.
The San Francisco 49ers set the price tag of a running back with Lynch's capabilities by signing Frank Gore to a three-year, $21 million extension prior to last season. The tag amount fits that price quite nicely.
Tim Ruskell is no longer calling the shots in Seattle. There simply is no way the Seahawks will opt to let him reach free agency.
Schneider will either come to terms with Lynch or will exercise the franchise tag and ask Lynch to show he can be a star running back for an entire season.