The rumor mill has continued to churn and burn about when and where Marshawn Lynch will be traded. The Buffalo Bills have maintained all along that they have no interest in trading Lynch, as he is still under contract.
Sure enough, Lynch ended his overtures about being unhappy, and wound up reporting to Buffalo to join the team for a portion of the voluntary workouts (one day only) and for the mandatory mini-camp.
Will the Bills eventually trade Marshawn? Your guess is as good as mine, but in this slideshow, we will present the reasons why I don't believe the Bills will part with the 12th overall pick in the 2007 draft.
Even when gang tackled, as in this picture, Lynch has the ability to move the pile. Fred Jackson also has the ability to gain yardage after being hit, but the "Beast Mode" style of Lynch can be easily put to use by head coach Chan Gailey in third and short, and fourth and short scenarios.
Each time Lynch converts on those occasions, it means another three or more downs that the defense is kept off of the field. It also improves the Bills field position.
He is an important option for those situations, and assuming that Jackson and Spiller will see the majority of carries, Lynch should be relatively fresh for the duration of each game.
Chan Gailey is well known as the type of offensive mind to takes the best of what each player does, and utilize those skills in to his schemes and game plans.
With the power that Lynch possesses, and the change of pace that he offers from the sleek running style of Jackson, and the pure speed of Spiller, opponents will have to account for Lynch when he is in the game. That means his presence could open up other areas on the field.
I am sure that there are some plays that would be more effective if Lynch was lined up in the backfield with either Jackson or Spiller next to him.
That prospect is something defensive coordinators will probably be losing sleep over.
If a team caved every time a player wanted to be traded away, the team would end up with a mutiny on its hands.
By showing some resolve, the Bills front office gave Lynch no option but to come back in and work with the team. That will give him a chance to prove to the rest of the league that he still has value.
If the Bills had caved in to his demands, the rest of the NFL would have continued to make lowball offers to Buddy Nix. The precedent that established would have been bad for the short and long term success of the franchise.
If Lynch believes he is more valuable than a third string running back, he will have to be a good soldier, play well when called upon, and keep his off-field antics to an absolute minimum.
Can he do that? We will find out soon enough.
Jackson is an amazing story about perseverance and faith. But, Jackson will be 30-years-old next February, which means he is probably nearing the end of his prime running back years.
While it's true that Jackson didn't take as much of a physical beating playing two years of Arena League football, and a season in NFL Eurpoe, the shelf life of most NFL running backs is in the five to six year range.
Jackson has already pushed that envelope, so how much more does he have left in the tank?
After generating 2,516 all-purpose yards last season, it was amazing that Jackson never joined the massive list of Bills players that hit the Injured Reserve list.
Can he withstand another year of that kind of pounding? Probably not.
If Jackson were to become injured, who else on the Bills roster could replace him? The answer would be Lynch.
Spiller, the first round pick of the Buffalo Bills, and the first running back selected in the draft, has not yet begun contract negotiations.
Since he was a top 10 selection, his deal will probably be hammered out closer to the beginning of training camp. This would be typical because NFL teams usually take a wait-and-see approach to what kind of dollars need to be offered to franchise players.
While that may not seem like a big deal, Lynch offers the Bills an insurance policy in negotiations with the Spiller's agent.
Let's say for an example that in the first week of training camp, Jackson gets hurt. If Lynch had already been traded away, Spiller's reps could hold a gun to the side of Ralph Wilson's head because they would have the Bills owner over the barrel.
Having just interviewed Spiller this past week, I am not suggesting it is in his nature to do something like that, but I am sure you can see how the above scenario could play out.
Once Spiller's contract is finalized, the Bills might entertain moving Lynch in earnest. This is an interesting point to consider.
If you rank the best running back option coming out of the backfield as a receiver, you would probably list Lynch as the third choice after Jackson and Spiller.
However, if the play called for the running back to stay in and handle a blitzing defensive end or linebacker, Lynch is the guy I would feel most comfortable with to protecting the quarterback.
His sheer size and power gives him a better chance to hold off the blitz. If you saw the television show where his power and strength were tested, you know what I mean.
When the Bills drafted Lynch in 2007 out of the University of California, he signed a six-year contract worth $18.9 million. He still has multiple years left on that deal, and based on his off year in 2009, he did not earn his money.
He does have a chance to redeem himself this year, but only showing up for one day of voluntary workouts did not endear himself to his teammates or to his new head coach, Chan Gailey.
BuffaloBills.com was praising the running ability of Marshawn from this past week of workouts. He was coming in and out of his cuts sharply. If that is true, it would only further serve to raise the level of competition between the running backs.
Pushing your fellow running backs to be at the top of their game can only help the team to improve. If Lynch is able to keep his name out of the media for creating negative headlines, I have no problem with him remaining with the team.
Easier said than done, I realize, but let's see if he has learned his lesson.