When Marshawn Lynch was traded from the Buffalo Bills to the Seattle Seahawks, Bills fans groaned. It was the status quo. Buffalo had a potential pro-bowl player, and suddenly he was gone. Traded away for what seemed like peanuts at the time. As a fan, this was nothing new. It seemed like any time we had a player that could go somewhere, he was either traded away or not given the money they had deserved and were driven away because of it. Marshawn Lynch was no different. Now, a few seasons later, the trade doesn’t seem nearly as one sided and poorly made as it did when it first occured. To put it briefly, I think this might have been Buffalo’s best bad trade ever.
The Bills drafted Marshawn Lynch 12th overall in 2007, but all they got in return for him when he was traded away was a 2011 fourth-round draft pick and what turned into a 2012 fifth-round draft pick — partly because of Lynch’s baggage and because the Bills had no leverage in the trade.
At the time he was traded, Lynch was only 24 years old. He was already a pro-bowl running back. He was the kind of runner who simply didn’t stop running. The kind of guy who could get backed up behind the line and somehow squeeze through the head of a needle to gain yardage. There was one problem though.
He had baggage.
A hit-and-run incident in 2008.
Gun Charges in 2009.
A three game suspension to start the 2009 season.
With Lynch’s issues, a new face emerged in the Bills backfield. Fred Jackson took over as Buffalo’s new starting running back in November of 2009. Jackson finished the season with over 1000 rushing yards while Lynch mustered up only 450 and 2 touchdowns. That offseason, the Bills drafted highly touted Clemson running back CJ Spiller with the 9th overall pick in the 2010 draft.
Suddenly, the leverage was gone. Every team in the league knew who the Bills wanted to ship out. Lynch wasn’t a hot commodity anymore.
Buffalo still needed to get rid of him, though. He was becoming a burden on the team and was quickly being replaced by Jackson and Spiller. Instead of getting a young prospect or a lot of draft picks, he was shipped to Seattle for a fourth-round draft pick in 2011 and conditional pick in the 2012 NFL draft. The fourth-round pick in 2011 was used on tackle Chris Hairston, who started 7 games in 2011 and played in 13 of them and now is projected to possibly start. The conditional pick ended up being a 5th round pick that Buffalo used on TCU linebacker Tank Carder. Carder is being looked at as a sleeper this offseason and could compete for playing time in the 2012 season. Neither of these players are an absolute lock, but they have big upside.
According to law enforcement, Lynch was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol on July 14th and was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. After this arrest, there’s a good chance that he could face a significant suspension from the league.
If either Tank Carder or Chris Hairston end up being a big-name player for the team, the trade will be worth it. Every time another arrest or incident is added to Lynch’s growing list of dirty laundry, Bills fans smile a little bit.
He’s someone else’s headache now.