Marshawn Lynch's status for the 2015 season is no longer in doubt. The running back and the Seattle Seahawks agreed to a new contract that ensures Lynch will return next season, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The deal is a two-year extension through the 2017 season, the Seahawks confirmed Friday evening. The extension is worth $24 million with $12 million guaranteed, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.
Lynch's original contract ran through the 2015 season with a $5 million base salary scheduled for the final year of the deal. Seattle general manager John Schneider, however, said he knew if Lynch returned it would be on a new deal. While there was some thought Lynch was considering retiring, he will now return for at least the 2015 season.
The return of Lynch is a major development for Seattle. Arguably the best running back in the NFL, Lynch is a vital part of the Seattle offense which centers around the rushing attack. He ran for 1,306 yards and 13 touchdowns during the regular season last year, and added another 367 receiving yards and four more touchdowns. Lynch was even better in the postseason, picking up 381 total yards while averaging 5.0 yards per carry.
In addition to being extremely productive, Lynch is well liked by teammates. How the Seahawks go often depends on how Lynch goes. By agreeing to a new deal, the Seahawks reward Lynch for his impact and ensure at least one more season in Seattle. Lynch will be among the highest-paid players in the league, and his deal comes at a time when most teams are shying away from investing in running backs. In addition to Lynch, Seattle has Robert Turbin and Christine Michael rounding out the depth chart.
The deal with Lynch could be the first domino to fall for Seattle this offseason. The team is expected to work out a lucrative contract extension with Russell Wilson, while linebacker Bobby Wagner is also eligible for an extension. Starting cornerback Byron Maxwell is scheduled to be Seattle's top unrestricted free agent.
Lynch has rushed for 8,695 yards during his career. With another productive season, he could become the 30th player in NFL history to top 10,000 career rushing yards. He's been a touchdown machine in Seattle, scoring at least 11 rushing touchdowns in each of the last four years.
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