Marshawn Lynch could reportedly end up being a surprise cut for the Raiders
There's no guarantee that Beast Mode is going to be on the Raiders' roster in 2018
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Raiders are "uncomfortable" with Lynch's pay for next season and the team could make the decision to move on from him in 2018 to save some money. The LVRJ also reports that wide receiver Michael Crabtree is in the same boat: The Raiders aren't thrilled with his pay for the upcoming season and could end up letting him go.
The Review-Journal pointed out that the contract drama could end up with one of the two players gone by the start of the 2018 season, both players gone or it's possible that both players could stick around at the right price.
Although it's not clear what the right price is for the Raiders, it appears they definitely don't want to pay Lynch $8 million in 2018, which is what he can make as part of the final season of the two-year deal that he signed in April 2017to Oakland. Lynch is scheduled to make $4 million in base salary, plus $2 million in easily attainable bonus money, plus another $2 million in incentives based on how he performs in 2018.
On Crabtree's end, the wide receiver is scheduled to make $7 million in base salary in 2018, which is a lot of money for a player who only caught 58 passes for 618 yards last season. Crabtree has a cap hit of $7.7 million in 2018, while Lynch has a cap hit of roughly $5.9 million.
If you're wondering why this might make sense for the Raiders, it's because they could potentially free up some serious cap space by cutting both players. There's nothing left on the books for either contract, which means the Raiders would pick up the full $13.6 million in cap space if they were to cut both Lynch and Crabtree.
Gruden was asked about Lynch at the NFL combine on Thursday and didn't exactly guarantee that Beast Mode would be on the roster.
"There's no question he's still a beast that's hard to bring down," Gruden told reporters. "One of the reasons I'm excited to be with the Raiders is to join forces with Lynch, but we'll see what happens. Obviously, we got to take a look at the entire roster."
Although Gruden sounded non-committal there, he did did add that he'll be "counting on Lynch" going into next season.
"I'm counting on him being a big part of our football team," Gruden said.
Gruden's comments came a few weeks after he insinuated that Lynch might not have been a shape for the beginning of the 2017 season. Back in February, Grudenthe Raiders "full-time" if he wants to continue playing.
As for Crabtree, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie didn't exactly offer a glowing review of the receiver's 2017 season.
"Mike didn't finish, but neither did we as a team," McKenzie said on Thursday, via the Review-Journal. "We did not finish well. Things did not go well. We can point fingers in a lot of those types of situations, but we're not going to dwell on what happened last year. We're going to press forward and get the most out of the guys we've got and get it working."
After that, McKenzie did add that Crabtree is in the team's "plans" for next season.
The Raiders are likely going to have to deal with the Lynch situation first and that's because Beast Mode has a beast of a bonus coming due later this month. On March 18, Lynch gets a $1 million bonus if he's still on the roster, and you have to think, if the Raiders pay him that bonus, then it's almost a guarantee that he'll be sticking around for the 2018 season.
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