Seahawks ink Lynch to extension

Running back Marshawn Lynch returned to Seattle on Friday to meet with team officials and signed a two-year contract extension through the 2017 season.

Lynch, just back from a football camp in Turkey, was spotted on a plane to Seattle on Friday afternoon. Owner Paul Allen reportedly returned from the South Pacific, where he had been overseeing the discovery of a World War II-era Japanese battleship, to meet with Lynch.

The deal was then announced late in the day.

According to reports, Lynch will receive $12 million in 2015, which includes $4.5 million in salary and a $7.5 million signing bonus. That is $5 million more than what he was scheduled to make prior to the extension. His salary will be $9 million in 2016 and $7 million, with a $3 million roster bonus due on fifth day of the league year, in 2017. The cap hit will remain the same in 2015 at $8.5 million because of prorated bonuses.

Lynch, 29 in April, has run for at least 1,200 yards in four straight seasons and scored 56 touchdowns. In 2014, he rushed for 1,306 yards and scored a career-high 17 touchdowns.

The Seahawks also released tight end Zach Miller on Friday and placed a second-round tender on wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, according to Field Yates of ESPN.

Miller took a pay cut to stay with the Seahawks last season, but he was lost for the season after Week 3 with an ankle injury. He was released after failing a physical.

Miller, 29, originally signed a five-year, $34 million contract in 2011. He was scheduled to make $3 million in 2015.

Kearse will make $2.356 million under the tender if he does not sign an offer sheet with another team that Seattle does not match.

In other moves Friday, the Seahawks waived tackle Garrett Scott, who missed last season with a heart condition, waived oft-injured defensive tackle Jesse Williams and re-signed defensive end Greg Scruggs to a one-year contract.

—The Seahawks got to two straight Super Bowls largely by building through the draft.

It was the plan when the team hired John Schneider as general manager from the Green Bay Packers — a franchise notorious for trying to build from within.

So, as the Seahawks attempt to stay at their rarefied perch, don’t expect things to change much now.

The Seahawks enter the free agency period with some cash apparently to spend — Seattle has roughly $24.3 million in cap space, 16th most in the NFL.

But the Seahawks also have some significant housekeeping to take care of — specifically, extending contracts for quarterback Russell Wilson and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner.

Schneider and coach Pete Carroll have made it clear the last few years that keeping the core of their team together is the priority; and, other than in 2013, when they were flush with cash and signed free-agent defensive linemen Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, Seattle has not typically been involved in big-money guys in the opening stages of free agency.

That’s likely to be the case again this season with the Lynch, Wilson and Wagner issues still to be handled. Seattle also considers the extensions given in December to Avril and linebacker K.J. Wright — who each could have been unrestricted free agents this year — as the beginning of its offseason work.

Seattle has been negotiating with Wilson, who made less than $700,000 last season but could be in line for a payday of $20 million a year. The cap hit for 2015 could be just a few million (he’s still under contract for 2015) but will vastly impact caps in future seasons and affect how the Seahawks proceed this year.

Then there’s Wagner, who could get $9 million a year or so.

All of that means Seattle is likely again to try to find a few cheap options for filling some immediate holes, but probably not going after some of the high-priced stars.

It also may mean Seattle will have difficulty keeping its marquee free agent — cornerback Byron Maxwell — who could get $8 million or more per season.

Schneider hinted strongly at the NFL Combine that Maxwell may be too expensive for Seattle to retain.

The same could hold true for left guard James Carpenter, who may be gone if he gets an offer of $4 million a year from another team.

Otherwise, Seattle is in pretty good shape with its own free agents, with Carpenter and Maxwell the only two full-time starters the team appears in danger of losing.

Seattle easily could return at least nine defensive starters and — if Lynch returns — all but Carpenter on offense.

Areas where Seattle could look for some free agent help are receiver, tight end, cornerback (with Maxwell gone and injuries to some others) and defensive line.

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