Raiders

Pete Carroll: Marshawn Lynch 'somewhat entertaining' a return to NFL

Pete Carroll: Marshawn Lynch 'somewhat entertaining' a return to NFL

PHOENIX – Pete Carroll met with Marshawn Lynch roughly 10 days ago. The Seattle Seahawks head coach said his former running back did not say he was coming out of retirement.

Lynch, is however, considering the prospect.

“He’s somewhat entertaining the thought of it,” Carroll said Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings. “I can’t tell you how strongly. You’d have to talk to him about that, and that chance ain’t happening.”

Lynch rarely talks to the press, though he has been visible during his year away from the NFL. He guest-starred on television shows, travelled the world, promoted the heck out of Skittles and did significant charity work in his native Oakland.

Lynch retired after the 2015 season and has repeatedly said he’s happy in retirement. Carroll suggests a comeback has entered Lynch’s head, but that doesn’t mean he’s coming back for sure.

The 30-year old is an enigmatic, unpredictable fellow. If he does return, Lynch reportedly only wants to do so with the Raiders.

The Silver and Black need a powerful running back to join a rotation with Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington, and Lynch is versatile enough to produce in the Raiders’ diverse offensive system.

General manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Jack Del Rio couldn’t comment on Lynch even in retirement, because his rights still belong to the Seahawks. He has two years remaining on a contract he signed before the 2015 season.

Seattle would have a decision to make if Lynch is reinstated. The bruising back would count $9 million against the Seahawks’ salary cap, a number that doesn’t fit into their budget.

They could release him or seek a trade, though Carroll didn’t state the Seahawks plans should Lynch decide to come back.

“I don’t know,” Carroll said. “We’ll talk about that if the time comes.”

The Raiders won’t give up draft picks to get him. Sources says the Silver and Black would strongly consider bringing him to Alameda if he were a free agent, though Lynch would have to work within the Raiders budget as well.

Carroll said Lynch would have to be motivated in a return to play his intense brand of football.

“It depends on how he has approached this offseason,” Carroll said. “The mentality of what it takes to play this game the way that he plays it, he really has to be invested and ready. He goes deep when he plays. Whether or not the burn is still inside him, I couldn’t tell that. I know he was kind of playing with the idea.”

Raiders Derek Carr dismissed by Khalil Mack when asked about being dunked on

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Raiders Derek Carr dismissed by Khalil Mack when asked about being dunked on

Khalil Mack and Derek Carr remained close even after they stopped being teammates. Carr was devastated to lose Mack to a Raiders' future draft compensation, both in the locker room and on the field.

Beyond the friendship, the two became main members of the silver and black and brought much promise to the organization and hoped to create a culture change.

That, unfortunately, didn't come to fruition. 

But we're lucky they still participate in Twitter exchanges to show there are no hard feelings and the bromance is still alive and well. But most recently, they showed there will always be a competitive nature between the two.

Carr answered some questions on his YouTube channel Thursday. But someone wanted to ask via Twitter if he will still dunk on Khalil Mack in the offseason after it became public knowledge Mack has already dunked on him at David Carr's house.

The answer? Without question:

Well, that settles that, but we won't truly believe it until we see it. But at least there's the 1-on-1 win that Carr had against Mack.

Your move, Carr.

Raiders offensive depth chart: Skill positions need a big boost

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Raiders offensive depth chart: Skill positions need a big boost

The Raiders offense entered the 2018 season with optimism, believing that an expensive, talented crew could flourish immediately under new head coach/play caller Jon Gruden.

Former coordinator Todd Downing took serious (and mostly deserved) flak for offensive struggles the year before, and there was a belief last winter the Raiders were a savvy offensive mind away from scoring in bunches.

It didn’t work out that way in Gruden’s first season back. Quarterback Derek Carr took some time to get comfortable with the head coach's system. An expensive offensive line regressed due to injuries inside and two rookie tackles on the flanks.

Marshawn Lynch got hurt. Amari Cooper got traded. While Jared Cook flourished and Carr got better, the offense never produced consistent quality.

Changes will be made to this unit – especially at receiver – leaving varied levels of certainty that incumbent starters will retain their post. Let’s take a look at a super, duper early 2019 starting lineup, with some names written in ink, others in pencil and more than a few uncertainties.

Backfield

QB: Derek Carr (ink)
RB: Doug Martin (pencil)
3rd-down RB:Jalen Richard (RFA; ink)
FB: Keith Smith (pencil)

There are some quarterback hungry teams out there who might believe they’re a quality passer away from the postseason. That might prompt the Jaguars or Giants or another team to make an offer for Carr that Gruden can’t refuse.

Anything’s possible with the unpredictable head coach, though Gruden hasn’t said anything recently to suggest dissatisfaction with his quarterback.

[RELATED: 2019 NFL Draft: Raiders favored to pick Kyler Murray by sportsbooks]

Carr expects to be back in 2019. That’s an accurate assumption at this stage, which would allow Carr continued growth within the system and a chance to prove he can find 2016 form.

While playing out a contract that runs through 2022 that isn’t guaranteed, Carr should get more time to build on a strong statistical season by finding more wins in 2019.

It’s uncertain whether Lynch is coming back. He’s an enigma, though his return’s more likely if the Raiders play within Oakland’s city limits next year. There has been talk of Martin’s return, but he’s north of 30 and, despite a strong finish to the season, a drafted running back could come in and compete for the feature slot.

Richard’s a restricted free agent, but he’s fully expected to be back. Smith has another year on his deal worth $1.5 million in 2019.

Receivers

WR:Jordy Nelson (ink)
WR:???
Slot: ???
Receiving TE:????
Blocking TE:Lee Smith (ink)

Expect a positional overhaul here. Jordy Nelson’s 2019 roster bonus was paid out early, virtually locking him in for the 2019 season. He showed great chemistry with Carr towards the end of the season, and continued to produce despite a showing less speed than years past, especially after a knee injury midway through last season.

The Raiders should draft at least one receiver, maybe two, in the NFL draft. Seth Roberts could be cut this offseason as well, leaving the roster without someone with extensive experience playing inside. Gruden will rotate receivers through multiple positions, so here’s the bottom line: the team needs talent and depth at this spot.

Jared Cook is an unrestricted free agent and his return is uncertain, especially if his market soars after a career year in 2018. Darren Waller flashed late, but was it enough to provide confidence he can be a major player? If Cook walks, the Raiders should another receiving option at tight end.

Offensive line

LT:Kolton Miller (ink)
LG: Kelechi Osemele (ink)
C: Rodney Hudson (ink)
RG: Gabe Jackson (ink)
RT: Brandon Parker (pencil)

The Raiders offensive line gave up 51 sacks last year and was inconsistent in the run game last year, so why bring the crew back?

The interior has tons of talent, and the tackles are young and still developing. Coaches believe Miller will become a quality protector, especially after an offseason devoted to gaining strength and lean mass.

Hudson was a team MVP and Jackson’s an excellent guard who plays through pain and will be just 28 next season. Osemele is a tone-setter up front, but his name could require liquid paper considering he’s owed $10.2 million next season and could get released without dead money attached.

Re-signing Jon Feliciano would help whether or not Osemele comes back. He provides depth at all three interior spots and has solid chemistry with the starters.

Penn should return to compete with Parker, though additional veteran depth is warranted for injury protection. This unit must get deeper, but the starting unit could return to old form if the interior stays healthy and Miller especially develops into a solid player.