Seattle Seahawks

Post-Lynch era begins with three RBs in Seahawks’ rookie minicamp

Seahawks' GM John Schneider, coach Pete Carroll discuss draft picks

Seattle Seahawks' GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll said the NFL draft was deep in offensive linemen and running backs, which happened to align with the team's needs.
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Seattle Seahawks' GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll said the NFL draft was deep in offensive linemen and running backs, which happened to align with the team's needs.

Now that they’ve made Marshawn Lynch’s retirement official — at least on their end — the Seahawks begin moving on without him.

Running-back draft picks C.J. Prosise, Alex Collins and Zac Brooks will be among the newest Seahawks on the field Friday in Renton as Seattle begins its rookie minicamp.

Saturday and Sunday will conclude the first on-field tests for 10 draft choices, plus what are believed to be at least 13 undrafted free agents.

Much of the attention will be on Germain Ifedi, the Seahawks’ first pick in the first round since 2012, and his move from left tackle at Texas A&M to right guard in Seattle. And eyes this weekend also will be following second-round pick Jarran Reed to see how he looks as Brandon Mebane’s potential replacement at defensive tackle.

Reed showed he means business by becoming the first Seahawks draft pick to agree to a contract. His agents announced that Thursday morning.

But this weekend will also show the first reasons why Seattle drafted so many running backs — the most in the league — plus reportedly signed a couple more as free agents for this minicamp. The Seahawks (who have yet to announce their undrafted free-agent signings) now have a variety of post-Lynch options behind new No. 1 back Thomas Rawls — not to mention insurance for Rawls. The 2015 rookie is recovering from a broken ankle and torn ligaments that ended his breakout debut season last December.

“C.J., you have to look at right away of more of a receiving, third-down type of runner out of the backfield. Mismatch. Great hands. Great feet,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider said of the third-round pick, who started his college career at Notre Dame as a wide receiver.

“Alex (fifth round, Arkansas) is just a hard-charging (back). Quick feet. Instinctive. He is one of three consecutive 1,000-yard SEC runners. The guy just shows up on Saturday and competes his tail off.

“Zac (seventh round, Clemson) is right up our alley. He is just a highly competitive, squared-away guy that was the most highly recruited receiver coming out of Arkansas, then chose to go to Clemson because they were the only school that was going to play him at halfback. He had a little rough luck early on, but every opportunity he got, he took full advantage of it.”

Running with determination. Just like Lynch did for 5 1/2 of the best seasons in Seahawks’ history.

Seattle Seahawks' GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll said the NFL draft was deep in offensive linemen and running backs, which happened to align with the team's needs.

The team on Thursday did what general manager John Schneider had said two days earlier it would do by June 1: put the retiring star running back on its reserve/retired list.

The move coming before June means the Seahawks will take all of Lynch’s $5 million charge against their salary cap this year. But it saves the team $6.5 million for 2016; Seattle was carrying all of Lynch’s $11.5 million cap charge for this year as if he was still on the active roster.

Lynch, 30, declared through his famous tweet during February’s Super Bowl that he was retiring. But he had yet to turn in his retirement paperwork as of last weekend.

Coach Pete Carroll reiterated last Saturday the running back was “committed to being retired.” Thursday’s procedural move by the Seahawks officially ends Lynch’s decade in the league and his 5 1/2-year run in Seattle, during which he was the foundation for the most successful string of seasons in franchise history. That included the Seahawks’ only Super Bowl championship.

Lynch was named to five Pro Bowl teams — in 2008 while with Buffalo, then four times while he was with the Seahawks. He was an All-Pro in 2012 when he romped for a career-high 1,590 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. From 2011 to the middle of the 2015 season, when he was beset by injuries for the first time in his career, Lynch was the NFL’s leader in rushing yards and touchdowns.

Last weekend immediately after the draft ended, Schneider said the team or league had yet to receive Lynch’s retirement paperwork. On Tuesday,the GM told Seattle’s KJR-AM radio the Seahawks didn’t have to wait for Lynch to submit those papers to put him on the reserve/retired list.

There was no immediate word Thursday if Lynch had since done so.

Were Lynch to decide he wanted to play again, the Seahawks retain his rights while he’s on their reserve/retired list through 2017. That’s because of the contract extension he signed before the 2015 season. That deal included a signing bonus, the prorated portion of which is now Seattle’s accelerated cap charge for 2016 for Lynch. It ends after the 2017 season.

The Seahawks’ weekend minicamp will also feature some interesting undrafted free-agent quarterbacks.

Trevone Boykin finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting for his dynamic 2014 season with Texas Christian. But injuries and a bar fight that got him suspended for the Horned Frogs’ bowl game contributed to him falling out of the draft.

Boykin will be sharing snaps with Vernon Adams and Jake Heaps. Adams was a record-setting passer at Eastern Washington and a standout after transferring to Oregon last fall — when he wasn’t hurt with the Ducks, that is. Adams is in this minicamp for a tryout.

Heaps was a nationally acclaimed recruit out of Skyline High School in Sammamish who started at Brigham Young his freshman year and most of his sophomore one before losing his job. He transferred to Kansas but struggled, then transferred to Miami and barely played to end his college career in 2014. He spent time last year with the New York Jets before signing a free-agent contract with the Seahawks this week.

Seattle has been talking to the agent for unsigned veteran Tarvaris Jackson and would rather have his depth of experience behind 4,000-yard passer Russell Wilson. But if those talks aren’t fruitful, the Seahawks could be left sorting through the three options who will be throwing for them this weekend.

Gregg Bell: @gbellseattle

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