The Seahawks on Thursday officially placed running back Marshawn Lynch on the NFL's reserve/retired list.
About three months after he announced his retirement, Marshawn Lynch was officially placed on the reserve/retired list Thursday by the Seattle Seahawks.
Interestingly, the announcement came at almost the same moment Lynch was making a brief speech at the Seattle Opportunity Job Fair at CenturyLink Field’s convention center, mere yards away from where he turned in some of his greatest moments as a Seahawk. Lynch did not mention football or the Seahawks during his remarks, which were designed to introduce Sheri Schultz of the Schultz Family Foundation and a program celebrating youth who have overcome challenges to find meaningful employment.
The team had hinted earlier in the week that an official move involving Lynch was coming when GM John Schneider said in an interview on KJR-AM 950 that the team hoped to place him on the reserve/retried list by June 1. Placing Lynch on the reserve/retired list was a procedural move the team had to make at some point since he has two years remaining on his contract. Putting him on the list means the Seahawks retain his rights.
Making the move now also means the Seahawks will take a $5 million salary cap hit for the 2016 season. However, it also frees up $6.5 million since Lynch was due for an $11.5 million cap hit in 2016. The move means the Seahawks now have about just under $12 million in cap space for 2016, though a little more than $2 million of that will be reserved for contracts for the team’s 10-player rookie draft class.
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The Seahawks have said they would have made a move with Lynch earlier had they needed the cap space. There was likely more urgency to do so now with the team beginning to sign its draft picks and undrafted free agents, and also to have some flexibility to make moves as other teams release players (beginning May 12, any free agent can be signed without potentially factoring into the formula for compensatory draft picks).
“It’s basically like a credit card, like you want to pay off your credit card as you go,’’ Schneider said. “So like with us, if we place him on reserve/retired (by June 1) than we accept that cap hit this year and we would rather do that then do it after June 1.’’
The $5 million in dead cap money for Lynch’s contract is due to a $7.5 million bonus he received when he signed a three-year contract in March, 2015. The team staggered out the bonus over the life of the contract, initially at $2.5 million per year. But with Lynch on the reserve/retired list now, the remaining $5 million will be accounted for in 2016.
Lynch has two years remaining on his contract and by being placed on the reserve/retired list the Seahawks retain his rights.
The rule states specifically that: “The team can place (a player) on the Reserve/Retired List and retain its rights to the player under the player’s contract. The contract is tolled, so if, for example, a player retires with 2 years remaining on his contract, and is placed on the Reserve/Retired List, then, if he chooses to “unretire”, the player’s rights are still held by the team to the extent of the remaining 2 years of the contract.”