ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) – Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie would like some resolution before the draft next week on whether running back Marshawn Lynch wants to come out of retirement and be traded to the Raiders.
Lynch retired following the 2015 season and still has a contract with the Seattle Seahawks. Lynch met with the Raiders earlier this month to talk about a possible return but nothing has been finalized.
“At some point you’d like to know and prior to the draft is that point,” McKenzie said Friday. “You would like to know that. But our door is open and we’re not shutting the door until that time pretty much. Who knows after that? We’re not going to ever say never. But the door is still open.”
The Seahawks still hold Lynch’s rights but would be unlikely to want to pay his $9 million salary for this year if he decides to come back. They gave the Raiders permission to talk directly to Lynch and he met with coaches and front office officials a few weeks ago about his interest in joining his hometown team.
“Every indication I got is he was excited to play for the Oakland Raiders,” coach Jack Del Rio said.
Before that can happen, the Raiders must negotiate a contract with Lynch, agree to a deal with the Seahawks and Lynch must apply to be reinstated by the league. Seahawks general manager John Schneider has said he doesn’t expect any difficulty coming to terms on a trade with the Raiders if Lynch decides to return.
“It’s a process,” McKenzie said. “It’s just not one little hurdle. There are a couple of things that have to be done.”
The Raiders have a need for a power running back after losing Latavius Murray in free agency. Second-year backs Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington are both smaller backs and are not as suited to short-yardage and goal-line situations.
If the Raiders don’t have any resolution on Lynch, they could decide to fill that void in the draft but could decide to wait if the right player isn’t available.
“We’re not going to go out of our way to just grab a certain big back,” McKenzie said. “We feel good about the young backs we have. If we can add another back, we will.”
Lynch was perhaps the best power back in the league before he retired. He had double digits in touchdown runs every season from 2011 to 2014, and his 51 TDs on the ground are the most in the NFL since 2011 despite playing just seven games in 2015 and being retired all last season.
Lynch, who turns 31 on Saturday, averaged 3.8 yards per carry in his limited action in 2015 before retiring. Prior to that he was one of the game’s top running backs with more than 1,200 yards rushing in each of the previous four seasons.
For his career, Lynch has rushed for 9,112 yards and 74 touchdowns.
Lynch was born and raised in Oakland and played college ball nearby at California. He still has strong ties to the area through his Beast Mode company and would be a welcome addition for a fan base still stung by the team’s upcoming move to Las Vegas for the 2020 season.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.