Running back Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates in the locker room after Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.The Seahawks beat the Broncos 43-8. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
However, they likely will be missing one of their biggest superstars.
According to former Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson, Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch is expected to hold out from training camp as he seeks a new contract with the team.
“Marshawn Lynch just called me, we just talked,” Robinson said during an appearance on the NFL Network. “He said he will be holding out from training camp this year with the Seahawks.”
Lynch threatened to hold out from the team's mandatory mini-camp in June before eventually showing up. However, Lynch didn't participate due to a supposed "ankle injury," per head coach Pete Carroll.
But Lynch's unhappiness with his contract status apparently hasn't dissipated, especially with Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles getting a new contract on the eve of training camp.
Lynch is scheduled to make $5 million in base salary this season with an additional $500,000 available in per-game roster bonuses. Lynch is currently the fifth-highest paid running back in the league.
“The guy has been the face of this franchise since the day he stepped in that door — it’s been Beast Mode,” Robinson said. “Just from my knowledge of it, he has been the face of the franchise, Pete (Carroll), (general manager) John (Schneider) have made no qualms about saying that. And he’s just like ‘I just want to be paid like it.’ I think the devaluation of the (running) back doesn’t help his case, the fact that he has two years let on his deal doesn’t help his case, which I’ve expressed to him.
“The fact that the biggest free agent running back signing got $3.5 million a season (New York Jets running back Chris Johnson) doesn’t help him. But you take Marshawn Lynch off the team last year, do we win the Super Bowl? I think all of us know the answer to that. He just wants to be paid like it. He knows he has a short window left. Nobody says anything when teams cut a guy at this juncture, though. I’m all in for players getting their dollars, man, because you have a short life.”
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Seahawks have no intention of budging to meet Lynch's contract demands.
As Robinson mentioned, the running back position has become cheaper as teams have found production with low-priced players. Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount of the New England Patriots combined to rush for 1,545 yards last year with a $1.49 million cost against the salary cap. The Jets used Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell to rush for 1,530 yards for a cap cost of $2.16 million.
Lynch rushed for 1,257 yards last season and will cost $7 million against the salary cap for Seattle this season under his current deal.
The likelihood is 2014 will be Lynch's final season with the Seahawks despite having two years remaining on his contract. Lynch probably knows this and the Seahawks probably know this as well.
They've planned for life post-Beast Mode with the selection of Robert Turbin and Christine Michael the last two seasons. Michael has drawn praise from the coaching staff all offseason and could be primed for a breakout season.
Lynch doesn't have much leverage in this situation. Whether it's enough to coax a better deal out of the Seahawks remains to be seen.
Robinson still has faith that the issue will be settled and Lynch will play football this season.
“I think Marshawn will be playing football this year. I don’t know how they’re going to get it done, I don’t know how they’re going to make it work but that team is not the championship team that they can be without Beast Mode," Robinson said.
"Pete and John, they understand how to win football games. They’re going to get this done.”
The Seahawks waived TE Chase Dixon and waived/injured C Jared Smith, and signed WR Morrell Presley on Thursday.
Presley replaces WR Sidney Rice on the team's 90-man roster. Rice announced his retirement on Wednesday.
Dixon was signed by the team following rookie mini-camp and participated in OTA's and the team's mandatory mini-camp in June.
Smith was a seventh-round pick in 2013 that spent time on the practice squad before an injury landed him on the injured list.
Presley participated in the team's rookie mini-camp as a tryout player.
Davis appeared in seven games for the Carolina Panthers in 2010, and seven games for the Denver Broncos in 2012.
Gilreath has been an NFL vagabond during his previous three seasons. He has played for seven teams - the Oakland Raiders being the most recent pitstop. The Seahawks will be his eighth team.
Gilreath appeared in three games for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2012 with one carry for seven yards.