Marshawn Lynch was officially traded to the Oakland Raiders on Wednesday so he can come out of retirement and play in 2017 for his hometown team.
Running back Marshawn Lynch was traded by the Seahawks to the Raiders on Wednesday after agreeing to a two-year contract with Oakland, officially ending his Seattle career and allowing him to return to the NFL after a one-year retirement and fulfill a childhood dream of playing for his hometown team.
NFL.com and others reported that Oakland will pay Lynch a base salary of $9 million over the two seasons with a chance to earn up to $16.5 million if he reaches all incentives.
The Raiders officially announced the trade around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday with the Seahawks following a few minutes later. The trade involved the two teams swapping picks in the 2018 draft, with the Seahawks getting Oakland’s fifth-round selection and the Raiders taking Seattle’s sixth-round pick. Essentially, the Seahawks will move up 20-30 slots or so (or so it hopes) for trading Lynch. The teams decided on making a deal involving 2018 picks since it was getting close to this year’s draft and moving the trade back a year served as a hedge in case there were any last-minute complications holding things up.
Lynch took to Twitter Wednesday morning to confirm the trade, doing so as only he can, writing in part “It’s time” and that “Yes Lawd 12th man I’m thankful but (things) just got REAL. I had hella fun in Seattle. …. But I’m really from Oakland doe like really really really from Oakland doe…. town bizzness breath on me.”
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The trade was announced after Lynch passed a physical.
The agreement brings to a close a saga that began a month or so ago when rumors first surfaced that Lynch hoped to return to the NFL and play for the Raiders after a year in retirement.
Lynch has literally aged during the drama — he turned 31 on April 22.
But he ultimately gets his wish to finish out his NFL career in his hometown. He was born and raised in Oakland, went to college at nearby Cal, and had returned to Oakland following his retirement from the Seahawks after the 2015 season.
He was reportedly so excited about becoming a Raider that photos were tweeted of him leaving the team’s facility still wearing a team helmet.
Seattle general manager John Schneider had said on several occasions of late that he expected a trade to happen quickly once the Raiders and Lynch agreed on a contract.
Lynch agreeing to a contract with the Raiders and then being traded from Seattle to the Raiders had been the hope for each side since this saga began.
“They’re still talking,” Schneider said on Monday of the Raiders and Lynch. “The steps after that were to be that if they came to an agreement, (Raiders GM) Reggie (McKenzie) and I would discuss a form of compensation.’’
The Raiders had said they wanted the deal done in time for the NFL Draft Thursday-Saturday.
A trade was necessary since Lynch remained under contract with Seattle. He had two years remaining on his deal when he retired and contracts simply pick up where they left off when a player retires as long as he is placed on the team’s reserve/retired list, as was the case with Lynch.
Lynch had been thought initially seeking a contract in the $5 million a year range or so from the Raiders. But it was thought that the agreement came quickly this week once Adrian Peterson agreed to a contract with the Saints on Monday paying him $3.5 million in the first year. That deal helped set a market for Lynch with the Raiders, with Lynch ultimately getting a deal greater than that handed to Peterson, who had also visited Oakland.
Working out a trade had been regarded as the best-case scenario for each side. Lynch’s salary was due to count as a $9 million hit on Seattle’s cap in 2017 if he were to be reinstated to the active roster. That would have forced Seattle to release Lynch if he were not traded as Seattle could not have kept that on the books long and Lynch had no desire to play for the Seahawks.
But in that scenario, the Seahawks could have asked Lynch to repay $2.5 million of his $7.5 million signing bonus upon his release — and indications are that the team was planning to do so. Lynch didn’t want to repay that bonus, and might have asked for the Raiders to up his salary as a result.
By trading Lynch, Seattle cannot ask for any of Lynch’s bonus back, but the Seahawks do at least get some form of compensation.
Schneider had said repeatedly that he expected a trade to go smoothly due to his relationship with McKenzie — the two worked together for almost a decade with the Green Bay Packers.
While Lynch had wanted to play a final season or two of his career in his hometown, it’s thought the Raiders were also enamored of bringing in a player who will be regarded as a hometown favorite during what promises to be a messy time in the franchise’s history. Oakland has announced it is moving to Las Vegas for the 2019 season but plan to play in Oakland the next two years.
Lynch came to Seattle in a trade with Buffalo early in the 2010 season. By the time he retired on Super Bowl Sunday in 2016 Lynch had rushed for 6,347 yards as a Seahawk — fourth in team history behind Shaun Alexander (9,429), Chris Warren (6,706) and Curt Warner (6,705). His 57 rushing touchdowns are second behind the 100 of Alexander.
But Lynch struggled through his final season as a Seahawk playing in just seven games due to several different injuries, including having a mid-season sports hernia surgery, rushing for 417 yards, averaging 3.8 yards per carry.
Oakland is not on Seattle’s 2017 regular season schedule, though the Raiders will be in 2018. However, Oakland will host Seattle in the final preseason game of 2017 (a date has not been set). Regulars typically don’t play much, if at all, in the final preseason game. But it wouldn’t surprise anyone if Lynch asks to get a carry or two.