What a fairy tale this could be: Marshawn Lynch, the great running back and a legend in his hometown of Oakland, coming out of retirement to help the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl before they move to Las Vegas.
Lynch is officially a Raider, finally. Lynch’s return was held up for a few weeks, but Lynch and the Raiders agreed to a contract and the Raiders and Seattle Seahawks worked out a trade so Lynch could play in his hometown, according to NFL.com. The only remaining piece was Lynch passing a physical. The Raiders made it official on Wednesday afternoon.
We have acquired RB Marshawn Lynch.
— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) April 26, 2017
According to NFL.com, the contract is one year (ESPN reported it’s a two-year deal) for a $3 million base salary with incentives that can make it worth a maximum of $8.5 million. Lynch can make $2 million more for rushing for 1,000 yards. The trade is a swap of late-round picks in 2018.
Recent news that Lynch wanted to return was as surprising as his retirement. He announced his retirement during Super Bowl 50 with a simple tweet of his cleats hung over a wire with a peace sign emoji. After a year off, Lynch apparently felt the urge to play again. He visited the Raiders’ facilities in early April and told the team he was ready for a return. Then negotiations on a contract dragged out until just before the draft.
The Raiders are banking on Lynch being the same productive, punishing back he was with the Seahawks. There’s no guarantee. Lynch turned 31 on April 22. He has 2,144 career regular-season carries and his last season in Seattle was a frustrating combination of injuries and ineffectiveness. Perhaps he’ll be fresh after a year off.
Lynch joins a Raiders offense that has a strong offensive line, and was seventh in the NFL with 416 points last season. If Lynch can provide some balance to the offense to go with Derek Carr and the passing game, it should be a great marriage.
The story line with Lynch and the Raiders will be a fun one. What remains to be seen is if Lynch can still be the same “Beast Mode” back he was in Seattle.
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