Fantasy Football Today

What if Marshawn Lynch really does retire?

By Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com

Marshawn Lynch has run for 35 TDs over the past three years. (USATSI)
Marshawn Lynch has run for 35 TDs over the past three years. (USATSI)

Marshawn Lynch is 28, on top of the football world, and scheduled to make $10.5 million in base salary the next two seasons. But what if there's some fire behind all this retirement smoke?

In case you missed it, Lynch's former teammate, Jordan Babineaux, said Beast Mode might retire if he doesn't get the raise he's seeking. Lynch stayed away from OTAs, but surprisingly showed up to the mandatory minicamp that started Tuesday. According to ESPN, Lynch believes his presence at minicamp will make the team more likely to renegotiate his contract.

Lynch has two years left on his deal. He wants more money this season, perhaps because he plans to retire after this year. He could still hold out of training camp if the team doesn't show him the appreciation he feels he deserves. It's impossible to know with Lynch.

A source insisted to NFL Network last week that Lynch's retirement thoughts are real, noting Lynch has saved his money. "I could see him walking away," the source said.

Lynch marches to his own drummer. It goes beyond his dislike for doing interviews. He skipped the Seahawks' post-Super Bowl White House visit, telling his mom he just didn't want to go.

Lynch's retirement, a massive long shot, would cause a Fantasy earthquake. He was the No. 4 Fantasy running back in 2013 and is ranked from 8th (Dave Richard) to 13th (Jamey Eisenberg) this year. Lynch is going even higher in mocks on FantasyFootballCalculator.com, with a No. 7 average draft position.

Christine Michael was generating major buzz before the Lynch retirement talk. The Seahawks keep talking him up, and his talent is undeniable. Texas A&M's strength coach recently said Michael's "athletic explosiveness" is on par with Adrian Peterson's. What if Seattle's succession plan takes effect a year sooner than expected?

The backfield might start as a 50-50 split between Michael and Robert Turbin. Soon Michael would dominate the early-down work, with Turbin (3.4 yards per carry last year) playing on third downs because he's terrific in pass protection. Undrafted free agent Demitrius Bronson is the only other true tailback on the roster.

Michael would be a Top-20 RB, according to Eisenberg. Richard could envision drafting Michael before the end of Round 3. In our latest mock draft, Michael went early in Round 10.

Michael's dynasty owners can only hope Lynch lives up to his unconventional reputation.

Quarterback Russell Wilson also would see his value rise, though not as dramatically. The Seahawks averaged an NFL-low 25.7 pass attempts last year. Without Lynch, Seattle would pass more and that's good for Wilson, currently ranked 15th (Eisenberg) or 16th (Richard). He'd approach low-end QB1 territory.

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