On Wednesday's edition of the Around The League Podcast, we floated the idea that Lynch has been angling for a new contract because he realizes he could be a salary-cap casualty next season. In fact, Lynch had $500,000 in 2015 bonuses converted to base salary this year as part of a compromise to return.
There are several reasons.
NFL teams don't pay big money to running backs looking down the barrel of age 30. Lynch is scheduled to earn upward of $7 million in salary and bonuses at age 29 in 2015.
That's a lot of scratch to dole out for a violent back with 1,002 smashmouth carries under his belt over the last three seasons. It's even an bigger hurdle when the salary-cap vice begins to tighten.
Quarterback Russell Wilson is due to collect a mega contract in the neighborhood of $20 million annually next offseason. That's not all -- key defenders Cliff Avril, K.J. Wright, Malcolm Smith and Byron Maxwell are all entering the final year of their contracts.
A study I recently conducted revealed that age 27 is the peak year for established NFL starting running backs. According to ESPN Stats & Information, running-back production historically decreases by 15 percent at age 28, 25 percent at age 29 and 40 percent by the age-30 wall.