Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin said Friday that he's "most certain'' running back Marshawn Lynch is done playing football.
Maybe it’s because it’s the Memorial Day weekend, or maybe it’s because it’s not as fun to think about as rumors that Marshawn Lynch may not be totally, really, completed retired.
But a comment from Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin during an interview on SiriusXM NFL radio Friday about Lynch is not getting anywhere near the attention as some others on the topic in recent days.
Baldwin, during an interview that also touched on other topics, said of Lynch, according to the network, that “I’m most certain that he’s not coming back.’’
That’s a pretty strong statement from a player who was among Lynch’s closest friends during his Seahawks’ days.
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It also is completely in line with the conventional wisdom around the team, as well as consistent with every action the Seahawks have taken since the end of the season.
To recap: Lynch announced his retirement in a manner uniquely his own (but one that did not catch the team by surprise since he had apparently told a few team officials to expect something like that at some point). Lynch’s agent, Doug Hendrickson, then confirmed the retirement, as did the Seahawks at the NFL combine.
The Seahawks then selected three running backs in the NFL and then later put Lynch on the reserve/retired list. While there were questions about why the team waited until May to make the latter move, the reason is mostly that the team simply didn’t need the roster spot until after the draft, when it had to clear room on the 90-man roster once the rookies were officially under contract. Waiting also allowed the Seahawks to keep their options open concerning when to take Lynch’s salary cap hit. Ultimately, the team decided to take all of it in 2016 (they could have moved $2.5 million to 2017), apparently deciding after the draft and free agency that at this point they will probably have more need for that room in 2017 than now.
Still, and likely due in large part to the fact that the notoriously-silent Lynch has not said anything publicly about his decision, there have continued to be a few rumors from a few corners that Lynch could reconsider his decision.
What appears to be at the heart of recent rumblings are comments made last weekend by Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, in which he said that he wouldn’t rule out Lynch returning since he is “about as predictable as a pair of dice.’’
But to read into that a prediction that Lynch is returning seems a little faulty. Seattle players have obvious and understandable reverence for Lynch and are both sad to see him go and also probably reluctant to be the ones to publicly rule out anything.
Could Lynch come back?
As Sherman alluded to in a typically Sherman way, even those closest to him never know for sure what he is going to do. But merely re-stating that fact is a long way from predicting that he’s going to play again.
Also worth remembering is how his contract situation works.
Since the Seahawks put Lynch on the reserve/retired list, Seattle holds his rights for the duration of his contract, which runs through 2017. If he wanted to return he would either have to A, come back under the terms of his current deal ($9 million salary in 2016 with an $11.5 million cap hit and $10 million salary in 2017 with a $12.5 million cap hit, which frankly would never, ever happen); B, renegotiate his deal with Seattle (the only way he could return to the Seahawks, unlikely as it would be given that he’s now 30 years old and coming off an injury-riddled season in which he averaged 3.6 yards per carry); C, be traded by Seattle; D, be released by Seattle.
Lynch’s contract also will be tolled, meaning that if he were to sit out this season but want to return in 2017 he would still be under contract to the Seahawks for two years.
All of which serves as a reminder that if Lynch were to want to try to play again, it wouldn’t be in Seattle, and there would be some significant steps that would have to occur first.