It’s been whole a month or so since he was riding a bicycle through and dancing to bagpipes in Scotland, so it’s high time for more news, rumors and fun with Marshawn Lynch, eh?
A league source told me Friday a Huffington Post report that the retired running back met with coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider on Thursday and “asked to be released” from the Seahawks is false. Absolute bunk.
Lynch was in the Seattle area Thursday. When he is in town he often stops by the Seahawks’ team headquarters in Renton to hang out with his former teammates through 2015. But I’m told he didn’t ask the Seahawks’ decision makers or anyone of authority for anything that would back rumors he wants to return to playing -- and that his hometown Oakland Raiders are talking to him about him playing for them.
Lynch wanting to play again, for the Raiders, may or may not be true. He has been rumored to want to finish his playing days in a Raiders uniform since before he famously tweeted his retirement in February 2016.
I’ve known Greg Papa, the Raiders’ radio play-by-play announcer, since 1999 when I was an Oakland Athletics baseball beat writer and Papa was the A’s TV broadcaster. I’m not disputing what he knows about the Raiders talking to “a certain running back” that “did not even play in the NFL last year.”
And as we all know up here in the Pacific Northwest in our years with Lynch, who really knows?
What I do know is if Lynch, who turns 31 next month, indeed wants to come back to play he must first request to the NFL his reinstatement in writing. He wouldn’t come to the Seahawks for that. And asking the Seahawks for his release before he has applied for reinstatement is bass ackwards. Not the proper way to get to play for the Raiders, or anyone.
The Seahawks have retained Lynch’s contract rights while he’s been on their reserve/retired list through 2017 under the contract extension he signed before the 2015 season. That deal included a $7.5 signing bonus. Lynch would be, according to letter of the league’s collective bargaining agreement, subject to paying back the 2016 proration on that signing bonus, a sum of $2.5 million for the season he was “retired.”
But the Seahawks wouldn’t have to collect that. They have made special financial agreements with him before, such as when they waived the fines that the league’s collective bargaining agreement entitled the team to collect after Lynch held out during the first week of 2014’s training camp.
Then there’s the $9 million charge that would come back onto Seattle’s salary cap for 2017 should Lynch ask for his reinstatement and get it from the NFL. That cap charge makes a trade hard to pull off, so the Seahawks might be more likely to decide to release him.
As for Lynch asking for his reinstatement and then returning to play for the Seahawks, this week’s signing of veteran free-agent running back Eddie Lacy shows the team has long since given away Lynch’s role and his roster spot. And why not? Lynch is, after all, still officially retired -- no matter what you read or hear.
All of that is to say there are many, many hurdles Lynch and even the NFL must jump before any of this would get to a Seahawks decision on where the back would run next.
If at all.
One thing out of all this is absolutely certain: Lynch, and those who work with him, are hugely successful in keeping his name in the news.
Even while he’s still not in the game.