Beast Mode has a couple of more years remaining before its expiration. After a day of conflicting reports and speculation regarding Marshawn Lynch’s future, the team announced Friday afternoon that the controversial running back has agreed to a two-year extension. The Seahawks did not disclose contract terms, but NFL.com reported, via a source close to Lynch, that he will receive $12 million in 2015.
Through intermediaries, Lynch was said to be mulling retirement following a highlight season. The Seahawks made clear they wanted back the soon-to-be 29-year-old “face of the franchise” because clearly outplayed the four-year, $31 million deal he signed in 2010.
Scheduled to make $7 million in 2015 under terms of that contract, Lynch instead will become the highest-paid running back in franchise history at at age when other backs of his ilk are being devalued and discarded.
His 2015 compensation includes a $7.5 million signing bonus and $4.5 million base salary. The 2016 payout of $9 million is not guaranteed, nor is the deal’s $10 million in 2017. So either side could call it quits after 2015 without compensation.
Since joining the Seahawks Oct. 5, 2010 in a trade with the Buffalo Bills, Lynch has played in 75 games with 71 regular-season starts, rushing 1,346 times for 5,930 yards and 54 touchdowns. Lynch has also played in 10 postseason contests with eight starts, rushing 187 times for 917 yards and nine touchdowns. He ran for 102 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl XLIX.
Since 2011, he leads the NFL in the following categories: rushing yards (5,357), total touchdowns (56), rushing touchdowns (48), 100-yard games (24), and is the only player to rush for more than 1,000 yards and record 10 rushing touchdowns in each season.
Lynch has earned four consecutive Pro Bowl berths with Seattle and has been voted a two-time All-Pro (first-team in 2012, second-team in 2014). He ranks fourth in franchise history in rushing attempts (1,346) and rushing yards (5,930), third in rushing touchdowns (54) and tied for third in total touchdowns (62).
Lynch has averaged 1,339 rushing yards since 2011 and needs 1,305 yards to become the 30th player in NFL history to reach the 10,000-yard plateau. Lynch has rushed 2,033 times for 8,695 yards and 71 touchdowns in career 120 games with 108 starts. He has added 239 receptions for 1,899 yards and nine touchdowns.
In 2014, Lynch ranked tied for first in the NFL in rushing touchdowns (career-high 13), first in non-kicker scoring (102 points), fourth in rushing yards (1,306), fifth in first downs (81) and fifth in most yards from scrimmage (1,673).
Lynch tied the franchise record and set a career high with four rushing touchdowns vs. the New York Giants Nov. 9 and his career-long 79-yard touchdown run at Arizona Dec. 21 ranks as the fourth-longest in franchise history.
Friday’s agreement came after Lynch, who recently visited Turkey on a tour with other NFL players, flew to Seattle and met with owner Paul Allen, GM John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll.
During his trip, Lynch broke his silence on Seattle’s final offensive play in the Super Bowl, a Russell Wilson goal-line interception aimed at WR Ricardo Lockette that secured New England’s 28-24 victory.
“To be honest with you, I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I was expecting the ball,” Lynch told Turkish sports network NTV Spor. “I expected to get the ball.”
But he offered no criticism of the play call. And his return squelched again the theory that Lynch was sufficiently dissatisfied with coach Pete Carroll that he might go elsewhere.
Getting Lynch’s contract extended now was crucial to Seahawks planning. GM John Schneider was eager to secure Lynch ahead the 1 p.m. Tuesday commencement of free agency. With no need for immediate help at running back, nor a fear of a training camp holdout, the Seahawks can proceed to repopulate the roster without fear of a suprise from the NFL’s most unpredictable player.
The Seahawks also released tight end Zach Miller Friday. He was going to be a $4 million cap hit in 2015, but played only three games because of an ankle injury that required two surgeries. Miller’s departure nearly accounts for all of Lynch’s increase in salary.