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Seahawks Swimming Against Current with Marshawn Lynch Extension

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystMarch 7, 2015

Joe Nicholson/USA Today

Every year in the Pacific Northwest, thousands of Pacific salmon swim upstream, making the long trek from the ocean to the rivers where they were spawned.

Well, the Seattle Seahawks are doing some swimming upstream of their own, bucking the recent trend at the running back position by handing a lucrative extension to Marshawn Lynch.

And while some might be shaking their heads at the deal, Lynch is the exception to the proverbial rule, making the Seahawks' decision to keep Beast Mode around a wise one.

As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported, Lynch flew into Seattle on Friday to meet with Seahawks brass:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Marshawn Lynch is headed to Seattle to meet with #Seahawks brass, including owner Paul Allen. He has a deal waiting for him if he wants.

Apparently, that meeting and the ones that preceded it went well. According to Pro Football Talk, Lynch has agreed to terms on a three-year deal that includes a big hike in pay for 2015:

ProFootballTalk @ProFootballTalk

Seahawks increase Marshawn Lynch's pay from $7 million in 2015 to $12 million http://t.co/6vun2XWd9G

It's the culmination of several weeks of speculation that ran the gamut from Lynch retiring to the Seahawks releasing the 28-year-old.

It's also a big departure from recent developments at the running back position. Earlier this week, the Philadelphia Eagles sent LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills in a trade. DeMarco Murray of the Dallas Cowboys is about to hit free agency after leading the NFL in rushing in 2014. Veteran backs Chris Johnson, Reggie Bush and Steven Jackson have all been released in recent weeks.

Most NFL teams are looking to do two things at running back—get younger and cheaper.

Of course, most teams don't have Marshawn Lynch, either.

To say that Lynch has been a key part of Seattle's climb to the top of the NFC would be an understatement. In each of the past four seasons, Lynch has carried the ball at least 280 times for at least 1,200 yards and double-digit touchdowns.

Marshawn Lynch—Seattle
YearGamesAtt.Yds.Avg.TDRec.Yds.TD
2010121655733.56211360
2011152851,2044.212282121
2012163151,5905.011231961
2013163011,2574.212363162
2014162801,3064.713373674
NFL.com

There also hasn't been any real drop-off in Lynch's game. In fact, Lynch's 4.7 yards a carry and 37 catches a year ago were his second-highest totals in those categories of his eight-year career. His 17 total touchdowns in 2014 was a career high.

As Seattle general manager John Schneider told Stephen Cohen of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer a few weeks ago, the Seahawks are well aware of Lynch's value to the team:

Regarding Marshawn, obviously we think he’s a hell of a player. We want to have him back. He knows that. His representatives know that. He knows that if he’s back, he’s not going to be playing at the same number he’s scheduled to make. He’s a guy who’s a heartbeat guy who we’d love to have back.

With last year, he was in the middle of a four-year contract with two years. That was just all about precedent. It wasn’t about whether or not we thought he was the No. 1 back. … If we redid a contract for Marshawn, everybody would be standing outside my office looking for a new contract whenever they wanted in their deals.

And so he knows that, but he also knows that he’s a huge part of what we’re doing. So, he’s just extremely important to what we have going on here and moving forward, the decisions that we make throughout this offseason.

And so Schneider ponied up the dough, and while it's a move that carries some risk, it was an easy decision to make.

Yes, Lynch is 28, the age when many backs begin to decline. Given Lynch's punishing running style and workload the past few years, it's fair to wonder if the end could be near, and the Seahawks have a pair of promising young backs on the roster behind Lynch in Robert Turbin and Christine Michael.

However, Lynch showed no signs of slowing down last year, and the fact is the Seahawks aren't rebuilding or a "fringe" contender trying to take that mythical "next step."

They're the two-time defending NFC champions. And you'll find no shortage of folks who feel that had Seattle's last offensive play call of Super Bowl XLIX been a Lynch run, we'd be talking about back-to-back champions.

So they ponied up the dough, with the hope being that just like the Seahawks bucked recent trends across the NFL by doing so, Lynch will buck a trend of his own by holding off Father Time for another year or two.

Because so long as the Seattle Seahawks have Russell Wilson under center and Lynch standing behind him, the Seattle offense is going to be all about that action...

Boss.

Gary Davenport is an NFL Analyst at Bleacher Report and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Gary on Twitter at @IDPManor.

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