For one, Beast Mode actually has to want to come out of retirement, and by all indications, he’s willing to do it if he can play for his hometown Raiders. According to Pro Football Talk, there’s a ‘very good chance,’ that Lynch unretires at some point before the start of the 2017 season.
Even if Lynch decides to make a return though, landing in Oakland still won’t be easy thanks to two obstacles potentially standing in his way.
If Beast Mode comes out of retirement, he won’t be a free agent because Seattle still owns his rights. The running back has two-years left on an extension he signed with the Seahawks before the 2015 season, which brings us to obstacle No. 1 on the possibility of Lynch landing in Oakland: The Raiders don’t really want to give up anything substantial in a trade.
If the Seahawks don’t release Lynch, then the only way for the Raiders to land him would be in a trade. According to NFL.com, the problem with that is that the Raiders don’t want to part with anything the Seahawks might want (specifically, draft picks). However, NFL.com did note that the Raiders may be willing to give up a conditional pick late in the draft that could become an earlier pick if Lynch has a big year.
However, so far, a trade doesn’t seem likely. As CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora noted on Friday, the Raiders and Seahawks have had zero trade talks so far.
The other obstacle for the Raiders is Lynch’s pay. If the Raiders can work out a trade for Beast Mode, then they’d be on the hook for his $9 million base salary in 2017, which isn’t an ideal spot to be in for a team that’s saving up money for several big extensions they have coming up. (Lynch is also scheduled to make $7 million in base salary for 2018, plus a $3 million roster bonus that year)
According to NFL.com, the team is hesitant to give Lynch big money because they need to re-sign both Derek Carr and Khalil Mack at some point. The 2017 season will be the final year of Carr’s rookie deal, which means an extension should be coming soon.
One way to avoid both of these obstacles would be for the Seahawks to release Lynch, which he apparently asked for on Thursday. According to the Huffington Post, Lynch was in Seattle this week, where he met with Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider. During the meeting, Lynch reportedly asked the two if they would consider releasing him.
If the Seahawks cut Lynch, then the Raiders don’t have to pull off a trade AND they could sign him for an affordable price.
The big question for the Seahawks is, “Why would we release him without getting anything in return when we know another team wants him?”
If the Seahawks think they can get something -- anything -- in return for Lynch, then they wouldn’t be inclined to cut him.
As for the Raiders, the idea of bringing in an aging running back isn’t as crazy as it sounds. For one, Lynch is actually younger than Adrian Peterson (by 13 months). Adding Lynch could also soften the blow for fans in Oakland if the Raiders end up moving to Las Vegas. There’s also the fact that Lynch should be fresh after taking a year off. Even if he’s lost a step, he should still be useful because half of his game is running people over.
If Lynch can talk the Seahawks into releasing him, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Beast Mode running wild and eating Skittles on the sideline in Oakland next season.