2012 NFL Free Agents: Could Seattle Seahawks Lose RB Marshawn Lynch?

Roman Uschak@@RomanUschakCorrespondent IJanuary 28, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 12:  Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks is tackled by members of the San Francisco 49ers defense at CenturyLink Field December 24, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. San Francisco won 19-17. (Photo by Jay Drowns/Getty Images)
Jay Drowns/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks have struggled over the past two campaigns, going 7-9 in both seasons despite making the playoffs last year.

One of the biggest bright spots in Seattle lately, though, has been the play of running back Marshawn Lynch, who was acquired from Buffalo last season. The California product had a memorable 67-yard TD run in a playoff win against defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans last year, and this season rushed for over 1,000 yards—the first Seahawk to do so since Shaun Alexander in 2005, when the Seahawks were NFC Champions.

Having Lynch back in the fold next season at CenturyLink Field would definitely be a big plus for a team that's still finding itself on the road to contention.

But being a free agent, what if Lynch doesn't come back in 2012? What if he signs with someone else like Green Bay, who could really use a running back, has a great quarterback and is just one year removed from a Super Bowl victory?

The Seahawks still need to find a long-term solution at quarterback and shore up their offensive and defensive lines and linebackers. Special teams and the secondary seem to be in good hands; but if it does nothing else this offseason, Seattle's management should make absolutely every effort to re-sign Pro Bowler Lynch instead of letting him go somewhere else for a bag of Skittles.

The Seahawks are close to getting better and becoming a winning team in an NFC West that now sports a formidable San Francisco club. If Pete Carroll and company are going to break through to the top of the division again, they need to be running behind No. 24. His signing should be their top priority this offseason.