The Seahawks gave permission for Marshawn Lynch to visit the Raiders Wednesday with Lynch reportedly telling the Raiders he wants to come out of retirement.
Running back Marshawn Lynch took another step toward coming out of retirement Wednesday by meeting with the Oakland Raiders and reportedly telling coach Jack Del Rio he wants to play for the team in 2017.
The Times confirmed the visit, which was first reported by former NFL punter Pat McAfee.
The Seahawks gave permission for the visit so that Lynch could meet with Oakland coach Jack Del Rio and other Raider execs as each side weighs if it would work for Lynch to play for the Raiders in 2017 with the Seahawks knowing Lynch would have no interest in playing for Seattle.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider said in an interview on ESPN 710 Seattle that he has had “dialogue” with Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie about facilitating a move of Lynch — who remains under contract with the Seahawks — to Oakland.
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Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that Lynch’s visit with the Raiders Wednesday was a possible final step toward a return, stating “My understanding is that meeting with Jack Del Rio is the final hurdle. If the
#Raiders coach signs off, dominoes fall.”
Rapoport further reported that Lynch told the Raiders he intends to unretire and would like to play for them in 2017.
However, a few steps would have to be taken before a Lynch return would become a reality.
Specifically, Lynch would first have to apply for reinstatement from the reserve/retired list from the NFL and then be placed back on Seattle’s roster before anything could happen. Lynch’s rights remain with the Seahawks since he retired with two years remaining on his contract — his contract would simply pick up where it left off if he were to want to play again. Seattle retained his rights by placing him on the reserve/retired list when he retired in the spring of 2016.
The Seahawks, though, still have not been informed that Lynch has applied for reinstatement, it was confirmed Wednesday morning — effectively meaning no apparent official steps have been taken for Lynch to return to play.
Once reinstated, Seattle could then try to work out a trade with the Raiders or simply release him. Seattle would not want to keep Lynch on its roster long since he would immediately count for $9 million against the salary cap. That alone assures that at some point the Seahawks would simply release Lynch if he unretired and a trade did not work out.
But in an interview on ESPN 710 Seattle Wednesday afternoon, Schneider noted that he is close with McKenzie — the two worked together in Green Bay with Schneider saying they “shared an office for probably eight years” — which would help facilitate the move of Lynch to the Raiders.
“It’s one that will go in a smooth manner because of our relationship,” Schneider said.
That could hint at something such as Seattle getting a conditional seventh-round pick dependent on how much Lynch plays in 2017, or possibly a swap of late-round draft choices, such as Seattle getting Oakland’s pick at 208 and the Raiders taking Seattle’s at 226 or something.
Schneider reiterated what has been reported often already — that Lynch would only want to play for the Raiders if he were to return. Lynch is an Oakland native and has been thought infatuated with the idea of playing at least one season in his hometown.
“My understanding is that if he would want to come back and play it would be with the Raiders,” Schneider said.
Before returning to play, Lynch could — and also likely would — be asked to pay back $2.5 million of his signing bonus, the amount that would cover the 2016 season, when he didn’t play. However, that only comes into affect if Lynch is released. If he is traded then the Seahawks could not ask for any of the bonus money to be repaid since in essence the team is simply transferring the contract as is to the Raiders. The Raiders would almost certainly work out a new deal with Lynch and likely have been laying out the groundwork for that in the meetings that have led to Lynch’s visit Wednesday. If Lynch did repay bonus money then the amount he repaid would be credited to Seattle’s salary cap in 2018.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said at the NFL league meetings last week in Phoenix that Lynch was “entertaining” the idea of returning to play after announcing following the 2015 season that he was retiring — which he initially revealed in a Tweet during the Super Bowl.
The news of Lynch’s visit to the Raiders comes on the day before his production company, Beast Mode Productions, is debuting its first movie, “A Hundred Blocks” at the Oakland International Film Festival at Grand Lake Theater.
Asked last week if he thought Lynch could still play at a high level, Carroll said he wasn’t sure and that it would be based on how seriously Lynch would approach playing again.
“I don’t know,’’ Carroll said. “Depends on how he has approached this off-season. He looked okay (when Carroll saw him 10 days ago). The mentality that it takes to play this game the way he plays the game, he has to really be invested and ready because he goes deep when he plays. And whether or not that is still in him and the burn is still there, I couldn’t tell that from talking to him.”
Lynch will turn 31 on April 22.
He had 417 yards on 111 carries in seven games in an injury-plagued final season with Seattle in 2015.