Seahawks acquire Marshawn Lynch from Bills

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Marshawn Lynch #23 of the Buffalo Bills runs against the Oakland Raiders on September 21, 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

The Seahawks acquired Marshawn Lynch from the Bills on Tuesday in exchange for a 2011 fourth-round pick and a conditional 2012 draft pick. Lynch immediately becomes the featured back in Seattle, while Justin Forsett will find himself as the change-of-pace back (which is a role that suits him).

I get the impression from what I read and hear that Bills fans were hoping for more in exchange for Lynch. But GM Buddy Nix wasn’t going to get any more than this right now. Had he traded Lynch before April’s draft, then he may have been able to coax some team into giving him a third rounder. But not now – not four games into the season.

Some fans seem to forget how much off-field issues factor into a player’s trade value. Since entering the league in 2007, Lynch has been involved in a hit and run, was arrested in February of ’09 on three misdemeanors after police searched his vehicle and found a loaded gun and was also accused of stealing $20 from the wife of a Buffalo police officer at a TGI Friday’s in December of that same year.

There’s no question that Lynch has enough talent to succeed in the NFL and there’s a reason why he was a first round pick. When healthy, he’s a downhill, north-south runner that can dole out punishment if he gets his hands on the ball enough times. Paired with a change-of-pace back like Forsett, he could go on to have a very successful career if he keeps his head on straight.

But that doesn’t change the fact that he’s been a malcontent off the field and Nix was trying to trade him when he already had two starting running backs on his roster. No team was going to fork over a third round pick when they knew Nix was overstocked at the position. So the Bills had to take what they got, or go into next offseason looking to roll the dice again in a trade for Lynch.

This deal should work out for all parties. The Seahawks get the No. 1 back they’ve coveted since Shaun Alexander’s production fell off a cliff and the Bills no longer have to worry about trying to split carries between three guys. They also get a fourth rounder and a conditional pick (whatever that turns out being) for a player in Lynch who didn’t have a long-term future in Buffalo.


This is great (but not the best) news for Lynch owners, who were probably hoping he’d land in Green Bay and have almost no competition for touches in the Packers’ high-octane offense. But Seattle is better than Buffalo, and Lynch figures to take over feature-back duties with Forsett sliding into a third-down/change-of-pace role. Lynch should become a fine RB3/flex for fantasy purposes, but I wouldn’t expect much more with the Seahawks’ struggles offensively and the presence of the talented Forsett. As for the Bills, this is a boost for both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson who figure to split the work going forward. I’d consider both players RB3/flex plays in PPR leagues and RB4-types in standard leagues. Of the two, Spiller obviously has more upside, but the Bills have thus far been reluctant to give him too much responsibility/work.

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