Marshawn Lynch has been a fan favorite in Seattle, especially during their last two trips to the Super Bowl. But the superstar running back -- known as "Beast Mode" to football fans -- might have played his final game with the Seahawks.
Lynch struggled to get into his rhythm during their 31-24 loss to the Carolina Panthers in their NFC divisional playoff on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium. The superstar running back return from abdominal surgery, but his presence was not felt during their final game of the season.
Lynch, who has spent the past six seasons in Seattle, rushed six times for just 20 yards. His performance against the Panthers could be a big factor, when the Seahawks decide on Lynch's future in the offseason. But for several NFL analysts, Lynch's Seahawks era is over.
According to Rich Cimini of ESPN, it will be a shocker if the Seahawks decide to keep Lynch for another year. The 29-year-old has an $11.5 million cap hit that could hurt Seattle, which made Cimini convinced that the Seahawks will likely settle for a cheaper running back next season.
"An old player with a $9.5 million salary never is a lock to return," Cimini wrote. "It would be a surprise if the Seahawks don't release him, especially with a younger and cheaper replacement lined up. Thomas Rawls, an undrafted rookie, was terrific before getting hurt."
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com is also convinced that the Seahawks and Lynch will part ways in the offseason. He pointed out that Lynch's injury this season made the Seahawks realize that they should go into a different direction and focus on building around Russell Wilson.
Wilson had solid performances for the Seahawks down the stretch -- enough for them not to feel Lynch's absence. Seattle won in seven of their eight games without their star running back, ESPN reported.
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman did not directly talked about Lynch's future but the cornerback sounded like he is also expecting that "Beast Mode" will not be with their team starting next season.
"He'll play his heart out and play until the last whistle," Sherman said of Lynch. "That's what you can appreciate. He's an outstanding teammate and an outstanding guy, on and off the field. I'll remember him as a phenomenal person who will give you the shirt off his back."
Lynch rushed for 6,347 yards with 57 touchdowns in almost six full seasons in Seattle. The California native moved to Seattle in 2010 after spending his first three seasons in the league with the Buffalo Bills.