More noise and more smoke about Marshawn Lynch, about him being back in the NFL and with his hometown Raiders.
Of course there is.
Yet Lynch remains where he’s been for the last 14 months: retired and still the contractual property of the Seahawks.
NFL Network’s Mike Silver, a Bay Area man, reported Friday afternoon Lynch had signed with Oakland. An hour later he amended that to report Lynch and the Raiders had an agreement on a contract that would enable the running back to un-retire for the 2017 season.
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Lynch then went on his Twitter account to set it straight in his own, unique way.
“If u kno me you kno my business is my business and if u don't kno me that's a fun fact for ya... when sh** get REAL I'll let you kno!!!!”
No, the sh**’s not real. Not yet.
Lynch’s post came about the time a colleague of Silver’s at the league-owned network reported that, in fact, nothing was different from Thursday. Or last Thursday. Or three Thursdays before that.
Which all leaves the Seahawks, Lynch and the Raiders where they’ve been for months: expecting to find a “smooth” -- to use Seattle general manager’s John Schneider’s word -- way to get Lynch back in the game and playing for Oakland after one season retired from the Seahawks.
Schneider and his counterpart with the Raiders, former Green Bay Packers front office co-worker Reggie McKenzie, are working on a trade of the retired running back to his hometown team, so Lynch can end his retirement and play for Oakland this year. The trade is contingent upon the Raiders reaching an agreement with Lynch on a new contract.
Lynch, who turns 31 next week, still must formally apply to the NFL for reinstatement from being officially retired. Ed Werder of ESPN reported Thursday, citing a source, that “Marshawn Lynch has begun NFL reinstatement process” in hopes of playing for Oakland. But there is still no evidence from my tepeated questions to the league, the Seahawks, people around the Raiders and the little I’ve gotten from Lynch’s camp that he has yet formally asked the league to reinstate him.
NFL rules stipulate that 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. Lynch still would need to apply to the league for reinstatement from what then would be Oakland’s reserve/retired list to the Raiders’ active list to play in 2017.
If Lynch applies for reinstatement, that would trigger the Seahawks needing to send him away him to keep his 2017 salary of $9 million off their books. Seattle has zero interest or ability to apply Lynch’s contract to its cap this year, which would happen once he would get reinstated onto the active roster list. 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.”
And as his agent said last month on San Francisco’s KNBR radio, Lynch may intend to play again today and tonight -- 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.”
Through all of Friday’s noise, all of that still applies.
This NBA-style sign-and-trade deal -- and, yes, all are STILL waiting for the sign, and for the trade -- would save the Seahawks from having to release the cornerstone to their two Super Bowl teams in the 2013 and ‘14 seasons with him still technically owing Seattle signing-bonus cash of $2.5 million. A trade would keep the Seahawks, Lynch’s team from 2010 through the 2015 season, from having to decide whether to press the running back on principle to repay the money.
The Seahawks’ return in any trade of Lynch is likely to be minimal — perhaps a conditional, late-round draft pick from Oakland. That future pick would depend on how Lynch performs for the Raiders this fall.
Remember, he hasn’t played a full season since 2014. NFL history is full of running backs whose production cliff-dives past age 30. So any contract that Lynch and Hendrickson may eventually work out with the Raiders is likely to be full of incentive bonuses.
Yet it’s a coup for the Seahawks that Schneider could get anything more than a bag of kicking tees 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 wants to play in 2017. That would put Lynch’s $9 million charge for this year, from his existing contract that he signed two years ago, onto the Seahawks’ cap.
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 million signing bonus. Lynch would be, according to the letter of the league’s collective bargaining agreement, subject to paying back to the Seahawks the 2016 proration on that signing bonus. That is $2.5 million for the season he was retired.
The sign part of this sign-and-trade deal would benefit Oakland because it could get Lynch at a low-risk, short-term deal much more to the Raiders’ liking than the contract with Seattle that he still is technically under for 2017.
But the Raiders as of Friday evening still had not agreed on that contract.
Despite all the commotion that follows just about every thing Lynch does, might do, might or might not think of doing, nothing has changed.
Not yet, anyway.