There have been rumblings of a Marshawn Lynch return to the NFL, but each report that comes out contradicts the last. Marshawn goes to the beat of his own drum and it’s apparent if he wants to come back into the league the Raiders are willing to cater to those wishes. When the infamous Nikes hung from the telephone wire it left a lot to the imagination of Seahawks’ fans and even football fans who loved the passionate running style Lynch brought to the league. Despite Lynch’s last injury riddled season and the thought of Father Time finally catching up to him, it couldn’t be the end. He gave fans so many special moments, and in my opinion, two of the best runs in NFL history. With all that he did on the field, it seemed like his leaving, in what are thought to be the prime years of a running back’s career, needed some sort of closure. Instead, in Lynch fashion, he hung up his Nikes and tweeted it in the middle of Super Bowl 50 while throwing up the deuces. Lynch went on his merry way to live his life with no strings attached – reiterating time after time that he was done and there would be no return to football. Fast forward one year and his return is more real than it’s ever been. Mike Silver tweeted on Friday that Marshawn Lynch and the Raiders have agreed to terms:
Marshawn Lynch has signed with the Raiders. Terms to come. @nflnetwork
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) April 14, 2017
In order for Lynch to become a Raider, he would first need permission to sort out a deal with them from the Seahawks – which he received. Next, the Raiders and Lynch would have to negotiate his contract to make a deal appealing for both sides. After doing so, the Seahawks would then have to agree to a trade to send Lynch to the Raiders – before he can sign any type of deal. My prediction is a 7th rounder, but if the Raiders want him badly enough, it could turn into something more.
A few hours after the news dropped, Dave “Softy” Mahler from Sports Radio KJR in Seattle tweeted that Lynch’s agent texted him saying there is no deal
Just got a text from Marshawn Lynch's agent: "There is no deal." FYI
— Dave Softy Mahler (@Softykjr) April 14, 2017
Marshawn Lynch also tweeted something which leads me to believe a deal has not been completed:
If u kno me you kno my business is my business and if u don't kno me that's a fun fact for ya… when shit get REAL I'll let you kno!!!!
— Shawn Lynch (@MoneyLynch) April 14, 2017
“Softy” then had Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio on his show to discuss the situation involving Lynch. He said quite a few of the reports out there have been false and spoke on the steps it takes for Lynch to become a Raider (which I noted above). After a trade, Lynch would then have to apply for reinstatement from the league. So, with everything that has gone on in the past 24 hours, I’m led to believe Marshawn Lynch will be wearing Silver and Black next season as a running back for his hometown team: the Oakland Raiders.
What exactly does this mean for Lynch and his legacy? The magic number for running backs in the Hall of Fame is 10,000 yards. I know there are a few exceptions, but that seems to be the benchmark. Lynch currently has 9,112 yards with only 888 yards left to meet that 10,000-yard mark. The Seahawks offensive line was on a strong decline in Lynch’s final year. He couldn’t seem to find a rhythm or get back to the line of scrimmage without the opposing defensive lineman getting to him first. He was tackled behind the line a number of times and left with an injury in week-9 of the 2015 season. Through 7-games played during the regular season, Lynch ended with 111 carries, 417 yards, 3.8 Avg., and 3-TDs. He added a 6-rush performance with 20 yards in the playoffs that year against the Panthers. There was a silver lining for Seahawks fans though, when Lynch went down. Behind the same offensive line, undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls had 147 carries, 830 yards, 5.65 Avg. and 4-TDs before a season-ending ankle injury. Rawls was hitting those holes that were closing for Lynch. He had a full head of steam and something to prove as a rookie. Rawls helped spark that offense to an amazing run led by Russell Wilson. So did Marshawn Lynch lose a step, or maybe just his passion? His body wasn’t able to take the beating game after game and despite the rest days given to him each week, he practiced at half-speed when he was out there. Sometimes, when you’re as gifted as Marshawn, all you have to do is just show up. That seems to be the route he’s taking after a one-year hiatus from the NFL.
The Raiders are calling, and outside of it being his hometown, they boast one of the NFL’s best offensive lines. They have a very potent offense and a young gunslinger in QB Derek Carr. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are a top-5 WR duo in the league and that bodes well for an aging running back coming out of retirement. Lynch has seemed to regain that passion, and leaving the game for a season has shown him he is football. The league isn’t the same without that tenacious running style and Beast Mode mentality that so many have tried to replicate, but couldn’t. Lynch hasn’t seen a clean backfield in years and that will soon change in a Raiders uniform. In 2016 as a team, the Raiders rushed for 1,922 yards, 4.4 Avg., and 17 TDs. Their lead back Latavius Murray rushed for 12 TDs and averaged 4.0 yards per carry (YPC). Deandre Washington averaged 5.4 YPC, while Jalen Richard averaged 5.9 YPC. That tells me there are yards to be had and touchdowns to be scored. The dynamics behind Lynch as a runner fits very well in their offense and brings a different element to their football team. If and when he returns, at the very least he will be aiming for that 10,000-yard rushing mark and a shot at another championship. He is a very intriguing fit for the Raiders and he’s definitely fantasy relevant again. The Raiders are the biggest threat to dethrone the Patriots reign over the AFC and Lynch might be that missing piece.
Here’s a reminder of what Beast Mode means!
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