Oakland Raiders: Could Marshawn Lynch Wind Up In Silver And Black?

Nov 15, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) rushes against the Arizona Cardinals during the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field. Arizona defeated Seattle, 39-32. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 15, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) rushes against the Arizona Cardinals during the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field. Arizona defeated Seattle, 39-32. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Oakland Raiders are certainly no strangers to conspiracy theories, but Mike Florio is throwing a whopper of one out there that involves Marshawn Lynch coming to the East Bay.

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The Oakland Raiders are in the market for a running back. Most assumed that they’d be looking to the later rounds of the draft to pick up a ballcarrier who can split the load with Latavius Murray and help open up the offense as a whole. But Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk is floating a theory concerning Oakland’s search for a running back out there that you might want to strap your tin foil hat on for.

Florio seems to be of the opinion that the possibly retired Marshawn Lynch might be destined to end up toting the ball for the Raiders this season. There is of course, zero evidence to suggest that this is in the works at any level. Still, it’s an intriguing notion to think that Lynch might end up carrying the ball for his hometown team. Likely not within the realm of possibility, but intriguing nonetheless.

Florio is hanging his theory on the fact that Lynch has yet to officially file his retirement papers, putting the pin in a pretty outstanding, though sometimes bizarre, career.

Per Florio’s report:

"“While Lynch doesn’t show up on the team’s online roster, he has not been placed on the reserve-retired list. That can’t happen until Lynch files his retirement papers.It’s possible that Lynch is delaying retirement intentionally, hopeful that the Seahawks eventually will release him, so that he can sign with another team whenever he wants: During training camp, at the outset of the regular season, during the regular season, or prior to/during a playoff run.Regardless of the reason, both the team and Lynch’s camp aren’t saying anything about the situation. Which possibly says plenty.”"

It possibly says that maybe Lynch just isn’t very good at filing paperwork. Or it could also possibly say that Lynch enjoys getting a rise out of people – such as with his one word answers or his “I’m just here so I don’t get fined,” press conferences. It could be that Lynch is so busy being, “all about that action, boss,” that he hasn’t had time to put in the official paperwork.

It could be a million different things that have nothing to do with Lynch actually coming back to the NFL and playing for the Raiders. Of couse, his cryptic “retirement” Tweet and that he hasn’t filed his paperwork yet will undoubtedly keep the rumor mill churning.

All snark aside, having Lynch in Oakland’s backfield would be a great get. He’d add another dimension, and paired with Murray, would give the Raiders one potent ground game. It would definitely benefit the offense as a whole and open up the passing game for Derek Carr and company.

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The hard reality though, is that a lot would have to happen for that to become a reality. The Seahawks, first and foremost, would have to release him, making him a free agent. Now, given the soured relationship between Lynch and Seattle, that could be a possibility if he went to them and told them that he still wanted to play – just not for them. They might be more than accommodating just to get his high salary off the books.

The next hurdle that would have to be cleared is the toughest one. And that is the fact that the Raiders don’t have much money left to pay the man. After spending big on Kelechi Osemele, Bruce Irvin, and Sean Smith, the Raiders have just over nine million left in cap space – and they still have to pay their rookie class.

Realistically, the Raiders will have just a couple of million dollars left to offer Lynch, if everything else broke right and he indeed wanted to play for Oakland. Would playing for his hometown team be enough of a draw that he would be willing to play for such a paltry amount? It would be unwise to ever say never, but it seems rather unlikely.

Of course, there are a multitude of ways to circumvent the cap, but add in the fact that GM Reggie McKenzie isn’t one who is willing to mortgage the future for a quick fix. Given that Lynch just hit that dreaded thirty barrier, is coming off a season in which he was limited to just seven games due to injury, and that he’s not exactly a leader in the locker room, he isn’t a player who is cut from the McKenzie mold. Which makes the prospect of McKenzie taking a leap on him all the more farfetched.

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While the prospect is certainly tantalizing and Raider fans around the world would likely rejoice if the team were to add Beastmode to their backfield, the likelihood of that happening borders somewhere between incredibly slim and none.

As for the filing of his retirement papers, if there’s anything we’ve learned about Lynch over his career, it’s this – he will do things his own way, in his own time. He’ll very likely get around to it when he’s ready and not a moment sooner.