On the day Marshawn Lynch reportedly met at Raiders headquarters with that team’s leaders -- and a movie about him growing up in Oakland was set to premiere there -- the Seahawks’ general manager said he’s talked his Oakland counterpart about the retired running back un-retiring.
To play for his hometown Raiders this year.
“You know, we’ve had dialogue about it,” John Schneider said Wednesday on the Seahawks’ flagship radio station KIRO 710 AM, referring to Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie.
McKenzie is a former colleague when both were executives with the Green Bay Packers.
“Marshawn’s trying to figure things out. The Raiders are trying to figure things out,” Schneider said.
“My understanding is that if he would want to come back and play than it would be for the Raiders. And that’d be it.”
That cements what we’ve known since Lynch famously retired on Twitter during Super Bowl 50 in February 2016: If he does play again, it won’t be for Seattle.
And if he does play again, he has a lot to do before it would be for Oakland.
First -- and foremost -- Lynch must formally apply to the NFL for reinstatement from being officially retired. There is no evidence from my questions to the league, the Seahawks, people around the Raiders and the little I’ve gotten from Lynch’s camp that he has asked the league to reinstate him.
Plus, as his agent said last month on San Francisco’s KNBR radio, Lynch may intend to play again today -- but may not tomorrow.
“I mean, he’s the kind of guy that can shift by the hour,” agent Doug Hendrickson said. “So, we’ll see.”
Retired NFL punter Pat McAfee, writing for Barstool Sports -- hey, it’s about Lynch, of course it’s, um...different -- was the first to break the news Lynch was inside the Raiders’ team facility in Alameda, California, on Wednesday.
The league-owned NFL Network then reported this:
If Lynch, who turns 31 in two weeks, does step one and asks the league for reinstatement, the second and decisive move would be the Seahawks’ to make.
Seattle has retained Lynch’s contract rights while he’s been on its 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 to the Seahawks the 2016 proration on that signing bonus. That is a sum of $2.5 million, for the season he was retired.
The Seahawks wouldn’t have to actually collect that. And unless it got unexpectedly contentious, I don’t believe they would. They have made special financial agreements with him before -- they waived the fines that the league’s CBA 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 get around to asking for his reinstatement then get it from the NFL. The cap charge -- plus from the Raiders’ end, the fact Lynch will be 31 and not having played a full season since 2014 -- make a trade hard to pull off. Even for a late-round draft choice.
The Seahawks have zero interest or ability to carry Lynch on their salary cap for this year. As the signing last month of free-agent running back Eddie Lacy underlined, Seattle have moved on from “Beast Mode” to “Past-Tense Mode.”
The Seahawks seem be more likely to release him.
That would be, for Lynch and the Raiders, the easier scenario. Oakland could sign him to whatever short-term, low-risk deal it can strike with the former star at Oakland Tech High School and the University of California up the hill from where he grew up.
Either way, Schneider told 710 AM his friendship with McKenzie from their Green Bay days would make a move of Lynch the retired Seahawk to homecoming Raider in 2017 more possible than perhaps with any other team.
“Yeah, I have a great relationship with Reggie McKenzie, who is the general manager of the Raiders. I shared an office with him for, probably, eight years,” Schneider said.
Asked by 710’s Dave Grosby if the Seahawks would just let Lynch play for the Raiders, Schneider wouldn’t answer.
“Sorry, you weren’t coming through there,” said Schneider, who was in fact in studio with the hosts. “I couldn’t hear you, there.
“I said he was a friend of mine,” Seattle’s GM joked of McKenzie. “I didn’t say he was my best friend.”
But, again, let’s pump the brakes. We have no evidence Lynch has even asked the league for reinstatement yet. Until that happens, nothing else can or would.
Nothing, that is, except Lynch staying in the news. That’s something he and his camp have been hugely successful at doing since he retired.
A curiously timed public-relations notice disseminated Wednesday trumpeted Thursday’s debut release from Lynch’s production company, Beast Mode Productions, of the film “A Hundred Blocks.” It will premiere in Oakland.
“Inspired by the streets of Oakland, including its most difficult issues, it will ignite the thinking and doing necessary to improve the lives of the community,” the release states of Lynch’s film.
Lynch’s assessment of his company’s work was quintessential him: “It’s a movie y’all! Yes Lawd.”