At the end of the season, current Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch will be a free agent. After he was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the 2007 NFL draft, he signed a six-year contract worth nearly $19 million, with a $3 million signing bonus that contained $10 million in guaranteed money.
Lynch spent the first three years of his contract with the team that drafted him, the Buffalo Bills. In his rookie season, he rushed for over a 1,000 yards and scored seven touchdowns. In his sophomore year, he again rushed for over a 1,000 yards and scored six touchdowns. However, in 2009, Lynch pleaded guilty on misdemeanor weapons charges and was suspended for the first three games of the season. When he returned, he had been replaced by Fred Jackson as the starter, and Lynch ended the season with only 450 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
On October 5th, 2010, the Seahawks and the Bills completed a trade that sent Lynch to the Seahawks in exchange for two draft picks, a fourth-rounder in 2011 and a conditional pick in 2012.
Almost immediately Lynch found success with the Seahawks. In his first game, he scored a touchdown. And on December 5th, only two months after acquiring him, Lynch scored three touchdowns against the Carolina Panthers. For the 2010 regular season, Lynch rushed for 737 yards and scored six touchdowns.
However, as any Seahawk fan will note, it was the playoff game against the New Orleans Saints that Lynch will most be remembered by. With 4:20 left in the game, and the Seahawks up by a score of 34-30, the Seahawks had the ball on their own 33-yard line. In what appeared to be a run up the middle, Lynch proceeded to break nine tackles and scored what ended up being the game-winning touchdown, as the Saints would later score a touchdown of their own. In his first NFL playoff game, Lynch rushed for 131 yards on 19 carries and scored a touchdown.
In 2011, Lynch has found his greatest success. Following the Seahawks' loss to 49ers in Week 16, Lynch has totaled 1,118 rushing yards has scored 12 rushing touchdowns, along with one receiving touchdown. He is the first Seahawk running back to record over a 1,000 yards in a season since Shaun Alexander did it all the way back in the 2005 season.
But should the Seahawks attempt to re-sign him at the end of the year? Bad news first. When the 2012 season starts, Lynch will be 25 years old. It’s been well documented that running backs lose their ability around the age of 28. Following that time table, Lynch has only three more productive years of being a running back.
However, Lynch has stayed, for the most part, incredibly healthy during his career. In 2007, he played 13 games, followed by 15 games, 13 games, 16 games in 2010 and this season he’s only missed one game. In this day and age, an NFL running back who plays in every game the entire season is a rarity.
Beyond age, numbers and injuries, Marshawn Lynch is incredibly popular here in Seattle. I can’t recall a play where he has not given it everything he has to be successful. He’s often described as being in “Beast Mode” for his ability to run straight into defenders and keep on going. He’s also received national attention with his love of eating Skittles after scoring a touchdown. In fact, in a game against the St. Louis Rams at Century Field, after scoring a touchdown, the fans of the Seahawks threw bags of Skittles down to Marshawn Lynch.
I believe the Seahawks should re-sign Marshawn Lynch following the end of the season. Not only is he well known and liked by fans of the Seahawks, he gets the job done on the field. I hope to see “Beast Mode” several more times.