Kawakami: Marshawn Lynch to the Raiders? It’s an entertaining idea, at the very least
SEATTLE, WA – JANUARY 10: Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks runs the ball against the Carolina Panthers during the 2015 NFC Divisional Playoff game at CenturyLink Field on January 10, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Let’s just start this right with the most realistic stuff, and then get to the gauzier, giddier aspects a little later in the item…
-Obviously there are some complications with the idea of Marshawn Lynch possibly un-retiring and ending up with the Raiders in either a trade with Seattle or after Seattle releases him.
First: Yes, Seattle still has his rights. That might not be a huge hurdle, but it’s the first one.
At some point, Lynch and the Raiders–even if they’re ready to join up–have to see what the Seahawks will do if and when Lynch announces he is un-retiring and it’s possible Seattle will try to hold onto him and see if the Raiders will trade for him.
Second: Is Lynch absolutely sure he wants to come out of retirement and get hit hundreds of more times? He seems to be enjoying his retired life quite immensely.
Third: The Raiders don’t have a ton of salary-cap room to carve out for a 30-year-old running back–even a probable future Hall of Famer and revered Oakland and Cal product–because they know they’ve got monster negotiations upcoming with Derek Carr and Khalil Mack.
Also: Lynch didn’t play at all last season, was hurt for much of 2015, and the NFL is not often kind to older running backs who averaged a career-low 3.8 yards per carry the last time they did play.
I would caution Raiders fans that, even if they acquire Lynch, he is not likely to dominate the league in 2017 the way he did, say, in 2012… when he was 25.
Great player. But all expectation levels should be kept reasonable. Just want to point that out.
All of this talk is of course surging after team broadcaster Greg Papa hinted about it on the radio yesterday and then this morning after ESPN reported that the Raiders are seriously considering the move.
There has been no real word about the Seahawks’ thoughts here, so that’s another caution.
If the Raiders can get him for a reasonable price, Lynch would be a fascinating story for 2017, no doubt, and possibly an electrifying situational offensive weapon for a team that just decided it would let Latavius Murray sign with Minnesota.
They already have the two young, small backs–DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard and added Cordarrelle Patterson, who has seen time in the backfield during his NFL career.
The Raiders were mainly a passing team last season and will always be most dangerous when Carr is flinging it to Amari Cooper and others… but Murray’s largest value to the Raiders last season was in short-yardage and especially the goal-line.
And Jack Del Rio is always going to want to run the ball with power. That’s one of the reasons Bill Musgrave isn’t the offensive coordinator any more.
Could Lynch jump right into the goal-line power role? 74 career TDs says he probably could, at least for as long as his body holds up.
If the Raiders are thinking of Lynch as a specialist–not as a 25-carry guy, but maybe 12 carries plus 3 or 4 catches–who can work off of Carr and that great power offensive line… then you get a sense of the practical possibilities here.
It’s worth a flier if Lynch wants this, and yes, we all know that he is a proud son of Oakland and probably has daydreamed about wearing the Silver & Black his whole life.
If he can accept a moderate contract, if Seattle lets him go (or trades him for very little)… then Marshawn Lynch is worth some amount of excitement.
One way to keep yourselves relevant in Oakland and the Bay Area after announcing a move (if the Raiders get approval) is to acquire Marshawn Lynch.
Remember, the Raiders are looking at a long limbo period–if they get the move approved either in March or later this year, they’ve already got plans to remain at the Coliseum for two more years as the new stadium is constructed in the desert.
And the LA Daily News’ Vinny Bonsignore and ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez have reported that the Raiders are pushing back the estimated opening date for a new Las Vegas stadium to the 2020 season, not 2019 as usually stated.
Which means it’ll be three seasons before that stadium potentially opens. And the Raiders only have a lease with the Coliseum for 2017 and 2018 and have no indicated any interest in playing in Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium while the new stadium is built.
So… three limbo Bay Areas, possibly. Even two would be awkward, three is… like a lifetime. And it could get very weird in the Coliseum.
The Raiders will draw interest in the Bay Area even after a move because they’re good, for as long as they’re good.
But it’s still going to be awkward to play in the Bay Area while one foot is out the door… for THREE YEARS.
If they add Lynch for this season–or just talk about it, revving up the Bay Area fan base–then that makes some sense on the football field and as the Raiders contemplate Bay Area ticket sales, as long as everybody stays a little reasonable about the expectation level.