Marshawn Lynch Trade Is the Gamble the Seattle Seahawks Have Wanted To Make

Chris CluffCorrespondent IIOctober 5, 2010

Marshawn Lynch
Marshawn LynchRick Stewart/Getty Images

With Leroy Hill’s Seattle career seemingly over, the Seahawks apparently needed a new punk in town, so they have acquired Marshawn Lynch.

The Seahawks have been trying to make a gambling deal like this all year, from Brandon Marshall to Vincent Jackson to Lynch. And they finally got one of the talented chuckleheads.

Lynch, a first-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2007, is a hard runner and seemingly an upgrade over Julius Jones, who had been phased out of the offense the last two weeks and was released in the wake of this trade.

Lynch eclipsed 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons with the Bills. He punishes defenders when he runs.

The problem is Lynch has been punished himself for stupid things he has done off the field.

He was involved in a hit-and-run in 2008, is on probation for illegal possession of a gun in February 2009 and was accused of stealing money from a woman last January. He served a three-game NFL suspension for the gun charge, so his leash with the NFL is already short. And he wore out his welcome in Buffalo with other antics.

The Seahawks had flirted with trading for him on draft weekend and again in June, but the Bills reportedly wanted a second-rounder. The Seahawks were willing only to consider a mid-round pick, and they finally ended up getting him for what they were willing to pay: reportedly a fourth-rounder in 2011 and a conditional pick in 2012.

The question is: Will that be too much?

Lynch is signed through 2011, and the Hawks have to hope he is worth the draft capital and he keeps his nose clean.

Carroll told reporters, “Marshawn is 24 and just getting started in his career. He’s got a couple years left on his contract, so we know we’re digging in with him as one of our guys. We like the fact he’s a young, productive guy that can come to the program.

“But we’re counting on him coming to help us now. This is a move to help us immediately that we know has longevity to it because of his makeup and age and all. We’re pumped about the opportunity to get him in here, and we’re counting on him being able to help us by next week.”

Lynch will push friend and former Cal teammate Justin Forsett for the starting job, but neither figures to be very productive until the Seahawks solve their ongoing offensive line woes.

Forsett is averaging 4.2 yards per carry, but, in his last two games as the main ballcarrier, the average has dipped to 3.6. The Seahawks might have seen enough to know Forsett is not cut out to be a full-time back.

If he stops breaking the law, Lynch could be that guy.

“He plays with great intensity,” Carroll said. “He’s got make-you-miss ability, and he’s also physical and runs tough. He has really good hands and can catch the football as well, so he’s got great versatility to him. He’s got speed to break away and an attitude about the way he runs that he can run the ball in tough situations. He’s a guy that can carry the load for you.”

The Seahawks have now made 12 trades this year, six of them coming in the last two months. Half of their 2011 draft will be made with picks that aren’t theirs.

They have traded four 2011 picks: a third for Charlie Whitehurst, a fourth for Lynch, a sixth for Kentwan Balmer, a seventh for Stacy Andrews.

They have received three 2011 picks in other deals: a fourth or fifth for Josh Wilson, a sixth for Lawrence Jackson and probably a sixth for Seneca Wallace (who already has started three games).

Other than the Whitehurst third-rounder, the rest of those deals essentially cancel each other out.

The Hawks also have traded two conditional 2012 picks, reportedly a fifth- or sixth-rounder for Lynch and another late-rounder for Tyler Polumbus.

If Lynch cleans up his act off the field and plays well again on it, a couple of mid-round picks will be a decent price to pay. If he doesn’t, the Hawks will be using another, higher pick on a running back by 2012.

The Hawks have been looking for this kind of gamble all year, and now they have made it. They had better hope Lynch is not another Leroy Hill.