The Raiders are reportedly trying to coax Marshawn Lynch out of retirement and into silver and black.
ESPN filed a story early Friday morning stating the Raiders were interested in adding Lynch to a potent offense in need of a powerful rusher, and that the player has considered coming out of retirement.
Reciprocal interest alone won’t make this happen. The Seattle Seahawks still have Lynch’s rights. The Oakland native and Cal alum signed a contract extension in the 2015 offseason that would keep him under Seahawks control through 2018. If he unretired, it would be under the terms of a deal that planned to pay him $9 million.
The Raiders would have to acquire him in trade or Seattle would have to release him before a new deal with the Raiders could be reached. Seattle doesn't have much cap space remaining with other free agent needs and draft picks to pay, so ESPN reports a release seems likely if Lynch comes out of retirement.
Greg Papa cryptically mentioned the prospect of a Raiders-Lynch union on Wednesday during his afternoon radio show on 95.7-The Game. Papa, a longtime radio voice of the Raiders and an employee of CSN Bay Area, would not name Lynch, only to say the Raiders were talking to a running back that “did not play in the NFL last year.”
That led to rampant speculation about Lynch coming out of a year’s retirement to play for a Raiders team he adored as an Oakland youth. He is incredibly loyal to his hometown and promotes it at every turn.
Lynch has previously stated that he would remain retired despite persistent questions about a return. He has been active since leaving the NFL, guest starring on television shows, traveling the world and starting his own Beast Mode apparel line.
Despite those facts, ESPN cited a source Friday morning that said a Raiders union, “could really happen.” Pro Football Talk chimed in a few hours later with an unnamed source who said there’s a “very good chance” Lynch ends his retirement.
Lynch turns 31 in April. He had 9,112 rushing yards and 72 touchdowns in 10 NFL seasons. He struggled with injury in his final season, playing just seven games in 2015.
The Seahawks signed running back Eddie Lacy last week to be their primary rusher.
Raiders punter Marquette King fired off an interesting tweet after the news came out.
"Yooo @MoneyLynch when you come to the @RAIDERS I expect you to carry my pads after practice," he wrote.
Raiders strongly considering acquiring RB Marshawn Lynch, either through trade or by his release, sources tell @JosinaAnderson and me.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 17, 2017
Marshawn Lynch is in shape. He's thought about playing. Raiders are interested. But would the #Seahawks actually trade him? We'll see.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 17, 2017
2 issues for #Raiders on Marshawn: 1. They don’t want to give up picks. Maybe a cond. 7th. Maybe. 2. They are saving money for Carr/Mack— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 17, 2017