Over the last few seasons, the Oakland Raiders have built their team into a powerhouse. If Derek Carr didn’t break his leg, some believed they had an opportunity to reach the Super Bowl last season.
Well, the team is looking to get even stronger in 2017, and have set their eyes on former Seattle Seahawk, five-time Pro Bowler, and 2012 All-Pro Marshawn Lynch.
Adam Schefter and Josina Anderson of ESPN reported the news Friday morning, citing league sources familiar with the situation.
Lynch, despite retiring after the 2015 season, is still under contract with Seattle, which owes him $9 million in 2017 and $7 million in 2018, dead money on the Seahawks’ cap that will have to be accounted for in any trade involving the two teams in order for the Raiders to secure Lynch’s rights. The Seahawks could hold Lynch in an effort to extract a draft pick from the Raiders, but doing so would limit their flexibility in the second and third waves of free agency.
Seattle could just simply release Lynch, allowing him to sign a free agent deal with Oakland or any other team. The terms of Lynch’s retirement, involving a “sports abdominal injury,” triggered injury clauses in his contract; he is off Seattle’s cap for as long as he is unable to perform. However, if he returned to football, that cap hit would trigger, which — as Sheil Kapadia reported on ESPN.com — would likely trigger his release.
Lynch is from Oakland; playing for his hometown team (at least until the Raiders move to Las Vegas or Los Angeles) would keep him closer to his post-football life during the season, a potential consideration in his decision.
Does it make sense?
Lynch’s decline was already evident before he got hurt. After leading the league in rushing and receiving touchdowns in 2014 with 17 and posting a solid 4.7 yards per run, his stats fell off a cliff; he scored only three touchdowns in 2015 and averaged just 3.8 yards on the ground.
Are the Raiders crazy for targeting Lynch? Maybe.. The stats point to a guy who was washed up when he got hurt, while Lynch also brings baggage. He was arrested twice for a hit-and-run in 2008 and in 2012 for drunk driving.
The Raiders have the 24th pick in the draft this year. If they need a running back they can get one on a rookie contract. Signing the now 31-year-old Lynch if he becomes available, may not make much sense.