The story of Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch possibly holding out of a mandatory minicamp was not too shocking, but the latest report on Lynch is.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said that Lynch might consider retirement. Lynch is just 28 years old, coming off a Super Bowl championship.
It’s worth taking a closer look at the report, since it has created quite a stir. The source doesn’t say that Lynch is considering retirement or that he has shared that plan, he or she is just speculating that Lynch theoretically could do so. So we don’t know for sure from this if Lynch is actually considering retirement. Also, anytime there’s an odd premature retirement story, one needs to check if there’s motivation. There’s plenty here. Lynch reportedly wants a new contract, which is why he might not show up to a mandatory minicamp (although there are conflicting reports on that, too). He really has no leverage other than a long holdout or … threatening retirement. There seems to be a good chance that the source here also stands to gain financially if Lynch gets a raise. Even though the report said Lynch has managed his money well, the Seahawks could ask him to repay a prorated part of his signing bonus, which would be about $3 million. The Cowboys’ Kyle Orton has the same dilemma as he contemplates retirement. That’s a pretty serious consequence.
So, all the normal signs point to this just being something that helps pass the time when real NFL news is light in June and nothing will come of it. Lynch is coming off a 1,257-yard season, still should have more good years left, and no matter how well he has managed his money he’d still be walking away from more than $10 million in base salary over the last two years of his contract.
However, with Lynch, it just seems like it can’t be totally ruled out.
Lynch marches to his own drummer at times, as he famously showed during Super Bowl week. That’s not a bad thing, it just makes him tougher to read. He also plays a dangerous position in a very violent manner, and he has made a lot of money and can even walk away with a ring. If Lynch did retire, he’d have good reasons.
For now, this looks like a strategic leak to put some pressure on the Seahawks to increase Lynch’s pay. We’ve seen that happen plenty of times before. Maybe Lynch will soon take the rare step (for him) of publicly setting the record straight if the speculation is totally off base. But Lynch is not like every other NFL player, enough so that the situation probably bears watching.