By Nick Shook
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Will he, or won’t he?
That’s been the question swirling endlessly around Marshawn Lynch since word trickled out that the running back might be interested in returning to the NFL. While we wait for Beast Mode to decide — even his agent wasn’t sure a week ago — it seems as though the Seahawks really couldn’t care less. Or could they?
Head coach Pete Carroll spoke with reporters Wednesday at the NFC Coaches Breakfast at the Annual League Meetings in Phoenix and said yes, the Seahawks have communicated with Lynch, but not much else on the matter. That was pretty much that.
“He came through the office and had a good visit,” Carroll said Wednesday per ESPN. “I know that he is somewhat entertaining the thought of it. I can’t tell you how strong it is. You’ve got to talk to him. And that chance isn’t happening.”
One of the franchise’s best backs in its history is mulling a return, and that’s all the public gets? Well, there’s a bit to unpack here.
First, the Seahawks own Lynch’s rights, so if he were to come out of retirement, he’d be contractually obligated to play for Seattle. The Seahawks don’t really have room for the veteran, though, and planned their future without Lynch. No room at the inn.
“Pete Carroll said they really haven’t gone through any hypotheticals in terms of if Marshawn Lynch does decide he wants to play, are they going to trade him or are they going to cut him,” NFL Network’s Steve Wyche said on Up To The Minute Live on Wednesday. “Pete Carroll was pretty clear in saying we’ve also got Eddie Lacy, who we just signed, Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise. Our backfield’s pretty deep, so clearly the Seahawks would not retain him in any way shape or form.”
There would be incentive for the Seahawks to keep Lynch’s rights as a trade piece, but only if they found a suitable trade partner. There’s a problem with that though: Lynch reportedly only would come out of retirement to play for the Raiders. That doesn’t leave much leverage for Seattle.
There’s also equal incentive for Lynch to keep them in the dark, so that they don’t take his potential return as a serious asset, instead cutting him loose (and granting him his desired freedom) when he suddenly shows up because they don’t have space for him or time to work a deal.
What we have are two sides unwilling to tip their hands and acting indifferent as a result. Oh, and the Raiders would still need to make sure they’d want to sign him.
“It really would be at this point, the Oakland Raiders and soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders or bust for Marshawn Lynch,” NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport said on Up To The Minute Live on Wednesday. “As of right now, my understanding of where this situation is going is everyone’s going to hit pause for a little bit. There was a lot of media hype over the past couple weeks. A lot of people thought maybe this week we’d have a resolution, maybe today, maybe tomorrow.
“It sounds like everyone’s just going to relax a little bit, let Marshawn Lynch first of all send in the letter and make sure he does actually want to unretire, and then the Raiders need to do some due diligence as well, talk to people about what he’s really like. What’s he like in the locker room? What’s he like as a teammate? How much does he have left? What kind of money is he going to want? … There’s a lot of things to consider besides does Beast Mode want to come back and play? The Raiders need to figure that out for themselves as well.”
It creates a situation that doesn’t appear to be near a solution anytime soon. Get comfortable; we might be here for a while.