Going into the season, there was talk the Seahawks would not be bringing Lynch back in 2015, owed a non-guaranteed 7 million dollars in a contract year, with other players to lock up long-term. Instead, Lynch ended up getting a raise and an extension. This deal is worth 31 million over 3 years with 13 million guaranteed in the first year, including a 7.5 million dollar signing bonus, a raise of 5 million. Perhaps it’s their way of saying sorry for not giving him the way on the 1-yard line at the end of the Super Bowl.
More likely, it’s their reward for Lynch once again having a fantastic season. Lynch rushed for 1310 yards and 13 touchdowns on 280 carries, an average of 4.68 YPC. Over the past 4 seasons, Lynch has missed 1 game and rushed for 5357 yards and 48 touchdowns on 1181 carries, an average of 4.54 YPC and he’s been even better than his numbers suggest as he’s run behind a weak offensive line. He’s graded out 48th, 5th, 4th, and 2nd on Pro Football Focus in those 4 seasons respectively and his 273 broken tackles on carries lead the NFL over that time period. He’s also the only running back in the NFL to grade out in the top-5 among running backs on Pro Football Focus in each of the last 3 seasons. There’s a case to be made that he’s been the best running back in football over the past 3 seasons, despite what guys like Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, DeMarco Murray, and LeVeon Bell have done over single seasons over the past 3 years.
The issue still remains that he’s going into his age 29 season with 2033 career carries. Of the top-25 all-time leading rushers who have played in the last decade, the average one has his last 1000 yard season in his age 30 season at 2602 carrier carries. That suggests that Lynch has about 2, maybe 3 good years left in the tank and that possibly his best days are behind him. 12 million dollars is a lot to commit to a running back for one year in today’s NFL, especially one with as much tread on his tires as Lynch has, no matter how good that running back is. I definitely understand why the Seahawks made this move, but I can’t say I love it.