He'll be back, after all.
The Seahawks have signed Marshawn Lynch to a two-year contract extension through the 2017 season. The agreement also gives him $5 million more guaranteed than he was previously scheduled to make this year under his old deal that was to expire following the 2015 season.
Here's the official word from the team on its 1,600-yard running back who had an NFL-leading 19 total touchdowns last regular season and postseason getting his new deal. He turns 29 next month:
The deal gives Lynch $12 million guaranteed this season -- $4.5 million in a fully guaranteed base salary plus a $7.5 million signing bonus. It is worth $24 million total for the final two, new seasons of 2016 and '17, though it's conceivable Lynch could retire before then.
The timing of the signing is a favor to the Seahawks. Tomorrow is the first day they and every other NFL team can begin negotiating with unrestricted free agents, and Tuesday is the first day of the free-agency signing period for this year. Now Seattle general manager John Schneider and his staff know they don't need to go shopping for a new lead runner for next season.
Until late this afternoon, the Seahawks were in the same status they had been since after the Super Bowl Feb. 1, waiting to get word from Lynch on whether he will agree to a new contract to play in 2015. Then Lynch flew from his hometown of Oakland to SeaTac airport on a Southwest Airlines commercial flight today accompanied by his agent Doug Hendrickson for a meeting at Seahawks headquarters in Renton.
Lynch at team headquarters in the offseason is more rare than him talking to he media.
ESPN first reported today Lynch has agreed to the new contract for one year and $11 million with the Seahawks that the star running back and two-time defending NFC champions have been negotiating for months -- "before you guys even knew," as coach Pete Carroll put it for the running back the Seahawks have wanted back all along, despite national reports starting in October that the team was tired of his "act" and would release him after this past season.
Pro Football Talk first reported the numbers that make salary cap sense for the Seahawks: three years total (counting the re-worked 2015), $31 million in potential total value with the $12 million guaranteed in 2015. The new deal carries a salary-cap hit to the Seahawks of $8.5 million this year, the same as his old contract that was due to expire after the 2015 season). If Lynch decides to retire after the 2015 season Seattle would absorb $7.5 million in acceleration cap costs in 2016.
In return they get the most productive runner in the league for the last four seasons, the bull around whom the entire offense revolves, back at the same cap cost for this year -- and a happier and thus presumably motivated Lynch for next season with $5 million more guaranteed cash in his baggy pockets. The Seahawks didn't have a ready replacement with nearly the credentials or ability to impact the entire offense at the ready -- not backups Robert Turbin or Christine Michael -- had they been unable to lure Lynch back. Now, Seattle has another year and one, possibly two drafts to find an eventual successor to Lynch.
Also today, the Seahawks released veteran tight end Zach Miller, who missed most of last season and needed two ankle surgeries, then failed a team physical. He was scheduled to have a cap hit of $3,39 million against the team in 2015, the final year of the 29-year old's $6 million contract. Seattle absorbs $1 million against its cap of $148 million for this year to release Miller, who played in 48 regular-season games over four seasons after Seattle acquired him from Oakland. This move puts Seattle squarely in the market for a tight end either in free agency or, in the draft that begins April 30 -- or in both.