The relationship Seahawks general manager John Schneider has from previously working with Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie may indeed pay off for Marshawn Lynch. And for Seattle.
Ian Rapoport of the league-owned NFL Network reported Thursday Seattle and Oakland are expected to eventually agree on a trade of the retired running back to his hometown Raiders so he can un-retire and play for Oakland in 2017. The trade is contingent upon the Raiders reaching an agreement with Lynch on a new contract. That would wipe his $9 million salary-cap charge for this year should he play from the Seahawks’ salary cap.
This NBA-style sign-and-trade deal would save the Seahawks having to release their former Super Bowl-winning cornerstone, with him still technically owing his team from 2010 through ‘15 signing-bonus cash of $2.5 million. A trade would keep Seattle from having to decide whether to press Lynch, on principle, to actually repay the money.
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It would also thrill a former teammate of Lynch’s in Seattle that is now a starting linebacker with the Raiders. Bruce Irvin tweeted Thursday at the news of this development moving Lynch closer to playing for Oakland a video clip of Lynch dancing on the sidelines in his full Seahawks uniform and the words “Moooddddd. Yes lawd”
The mere fact Rapoport is reporting a trade is in the works reminds what Schneider said this month to Seattle’s 710-AM radio about his friendship with McKenzie from their working together in the Green Bay Packers’ front office. Schneider said that meant any movements between the Seahawks and Raiders about Lynch would likely go “smoothly.”
“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.
They must be super pals.
For sure, McKenzie would be doing Schneider a favor; it’s a coup for the Seahawks that Schneider could get anything more than a bag of kicking tees from the Raiders in a trade for Lynch. Oakland could ignore Seattle’s trade ideas and simply wait for the league to act on a request for reinstatement from Lynch, if he truly wanted to play again in 2017. That would put Lynch’s $9 million charge for this year, from his existing contract he signed two years ago, onto the Seahawks’ cap. Seattle has zero interest or ability to carry Lynch on its cap for this year. As the team’s signing last month of free-agent running back Eddie Lacy underlined, the Seahawks have moved on from “Beast Mode” to “Past-Tense Mode.” Then the Seahawks would be forced to release Lynch to keep his charge it doesn’t want off its books.
NFL rules stipulate if a team trades a player on its reserve/retired list, as Lynch is on Seattle’s, he will be assigned to the same category on the acquiring team’s reserve list. The player would still need to apply to the league for reinstatement from reserve/retired to, in this case, Oakland’s active list.
So in that regard nothing has changed from Wednesday to Thursday. Lynch must still apply to the league for reinstatement before any of this can happen.
Nothing I have gotten from questions to the league or to Lynch’s agent have, at least until Thursday, suggested Lynch has applied to the NFL for reinstatement. But Ed Werder of ESPN reported Thursday citing a “source: Marshawn Lynch has begun NFL reinstatement process” in hopes of playing for Oakland.
A trade of Lynch would most likely to net the Seahawks a conditional, late-round draft pick from Oakland. That would depend on how the about-to-be-31-year old performs for the Raiders this fall. He hasn’t played a full season since 2014. Any contract he and his agent Doug Hendrickson work out with the Raiders is likely to be full of incentive bonuses.
The sign part of this sign-and-trade would benefit Oakland because it could get Lynch at a low-risk, short-term deal much more to the Raiders’ liking that the contract he is still technically under for 2017 with Seattle.
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.
Last week Lynch was inside the Raiders’ team facility in Alameda, California.
It’s now apparent he was talking to that team about parameters on a new contract as well as what role coach Jack Del Rio envisions for Lynch on the Raiders in 2017.
There are still hurdles to clear. And, as always with Lynch, no one really knows what’s going to happen next.
But Thursday at least provided a blueprint to how the Seahawks are likely to move on without Lynch, even while he un-retires.