The Seattle Seahawks avoiding having to place the franchise tag on Marshawn Lynch by reaching a long-term deal with the running back.

The Seahawks locked up the 25-year-old Lynch for four more seasons in a deal that will pay him $31 million and reportedly guarantees him $18 million.

Lynch is coming off the best season of his career after rushing for 1,204 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns. He’s got relatively low mileage for a back that has been in the league six seasons.

"We are excited to keep Marshawn as a part of what we are building," general manager John Schneider said in a statement released by the club. "This is what we were hoping for when we acquired him from Buffalo."

The Seahawks picked Lynch up in a 2011 trade with the Buffalo Bills. They paid a fourth-round pick in 2011 and a fifth-rounder this season. That’s pretty good value for a quality running back.

Seahawks owner Paul Allen was so excited he took to his Twitter account to celebrate, according to Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times.

"BeastMode will be back!!" Allen tweeted. "Great news for this young, exciting team & 12thMan."

It will be interesting to see if the Lynch deal will help shape negotiations for Chicago’s Matt Forte and Baltimore’s Ray Rice. They’re both facing the prospect of playing the 2012 season under the franchise tag if long-term deals cannot be worked out. The franchise tag will pay about $7.7 million this year.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune