It’s that special time of year when some veteran NFL players come forward with gripes and concerns over their current contracts. We’ve recently heard from 49ers TE, and recently IPO’ed Vernon Davis, who claims that his 2nd highest annual average salary makes him underpaid in the league.
And now we’re beginning to hear rumblings from the Seahawks camp that running back Marshawn Lynch isn’t pleased with his current pay a well. We’ll take a look at Lynch’s current pay structure, and shed a little light toward what his current value may be in terms of a restructured contract going forward.
Lynch’s Current Contract
While Lynch’s current deal holds an average annual salary of $7.5 million, the $13 million in cash remaining through 2015 leaves him with $6.5 million per year – well paid, but 9th most among active running backs.
Lynchs’ current contract ends in 2015.
His $7 million cap figure for 2014 ranks 6th among running backs, and the $9 million hit for 2015 ranks 3rd. His $3 million in dead money (cap cost to be released or traded) rank 14th, a fairly low figure for a back of his worth. It’s a smart time for Lynch to at least be knockin on the door for a new deal – as all of the pieces are in place to do so. We’ll evaluate his production below to assess a new value.
Over the last 2 seasons, Lynch averages out to the #4th best rated running back according to Pro Football Focus. His impact and importance to the Seahawks offense isn’t a secret, and at age 28, and with minimal injuries over the course of his hard-hitting career, it’s safe to assume that Lynch can still provide top value in Seattle for a number of years down the road.
The problem with increasing Lynch’s annual salary (to be closer to the likes of the Petersons and McCoys), comes with his lack of a receiving game. Lynch has been targeted out of the backfield just 2.29 times a game since 2012, nearly half the average targets of Peterson, Forte, Gore, D. Williams, Foster, and McCoy prior to their new contracts. In fact, Lynch’s receiving numbers across the board are significantly lower than our target running backs in recent years, as shown below.
In terms of the rushing game, Lynch matches up extremely well (as you might imagine). He’s inline with, or better than all of our target backs, with the exception of fumbles – where Lynch appears to be lacking control.
All this being said, a quick forecast for Marshawn Lynch (using Spotrac’s projection formula), shows that Lynch might actually be due a bit of a raise. Our adjusted figures come out to a 3 year $25.7 million extension for the 28 year old, an average of $8.6M per year. With just $3 million in dead money currently, un-allocated signing bonus from the previous deal, it would make sense for the Seahawks to hand Lynch a sizeable signing bonus, giving him cash in hand, and pro-rating the majority of this $26 million across a total of 5 years, for cap management purposes.
The $8.6 million annual average would place Lynch 4th on this list, still behind Peterson, McCoy, and Foster – but rightfully so based on their ability to be utilized more in the passing game. While it’s not necessary to touch Lynch’s deal at all – reducing his $7 million cap figure in 2014, and $9 million cap for 2015 might be useful to the Seahawks going forward.
Related: Seattle Seahawks Contracts