Pete Carroll and John Schneider have kowtowed to Marshawn Lynch for years, so why would anyone think they suddenly would take a tough-guy approach with him and set a drop-dead deadline for him to accept a new contract or declare that he will play in 2015?
Carroll and Schneider are not disciplinarians. They ask their players to do things; they never tell them.
In Lynch’s case, they have let him do whatever he wanted ever since they traded for him in 2010. He plays when he wants, he defies the NFL as he chooses and he grabs his junk whenever he is about to score. He has Carroll and Schneider by the balls, too.
Carroll and Schneider don’t have any control or hold on Lynch whatsoever, so don’t think they have told him to give them an answer before free agency begins March 10. They surely have asked. But they are in no position to demand anything from him, and they know that.
Schneider said it Wednesday: “He’s a guy that kind of just beats to his own drum. He does what he wants, and he would never let you know one way or the other. A lot of great running backs have just walked away. So I have no idea (whether he is coming back).”
The Seahawks have “big offers” on the table for Lynch to return, Carroll said Friday as he reiterated for the umpteenth time Lynch’s importance to the team.
Schneider would not say whether they had given Lynch a deadline for responding to their contract offer, but Danny O’Neil of 710 ESPN suggests they have. O’Neil uses the case of Matt Hasselbeck in 2011, but that does not apply because Hasselbeck was a free agent and Lynch is not.
Carroll and Schneider have no control over when Lynch responds to them. For one, he is under contract, so they can only assume he is going to play. And the only way they could force him to declare by a certain date would be to threaten to release him, which they obviously are not going to do.
Sure, they could threaten to pull the new offer, as O’Neil suggests, but all that would do is make Lynch mad enough to hold his $7 million in salary and bonuses hostage until the season starts and he doesn’t show up. The Hawks could fine him for missing mandatory practices, and they could seek a partial refund ($1.5 million) of the signing bonus from his current deal. But they otherwise have no power over him if they want to keep him.
Lynch will count $8.5 million against the salary cap under his current deal. A new deal might lower his 2015 cap hit — depending on how it is structured — by as much as $3 million (or as little as $500,000). If Lynch retires, the Hawks will regain $7 million in cap space they could use in free agency. That all explains why the Hawks want to know what Lynch is going to do.
But the timing is purely up to Lynch, who controls all the action in this case, boss.