As we say goodbye to one household NFL name, Tony Romo, we may be welcoming back another. After an injury-filled 2015 that saw him suit up for only seven games, Marshawn Lynch chose to (literally) hang up his cleats.
Apparently adventuring through mountains with Bear Grylls, recreating his memorable medical cart celebration with his mom, nearly getting hit by a bus while riding a bicycle in Scotland, and starring in hilarious Super Bowl commercials just wasn’t enough for the five-time Pro Bowl running back.
Lynch is only 30 years old and never suffered any career-altering injuries, so the comeback rumors have been swirling ever since he announced his retirement. But now they are no longer just rumors. Lynch has publicly stated his desire to play for his hometown Oakland Raiders, and the interest is mutual.
The bruising back is still under contract with the Seahawks, but does not wish to play in Seattle any longer. Lynch recently met with the Raiders, and everything would suggest a deal is imminent. The last hold up is whether Oakland will have to trade for his rights, or if Seattle will just grant Lynch a release.
Assuming the deal gets done, what should we expect out of Lynch in a Raider uniform? Does this addition put Oakland over the top? Is there any way Lynch can persuade the team to forego its move to Las Vegas? We’ve got all the odds here.
If you need anymore proof, just check out Beast Mode’s clothing line.
Lynch will be 31 years old before the end of the month, and the Raiders may not even be in Oakland beyond 2018.
From 2011 to 2014, Lynch averaged about 295 carries per year for Seattle. Last year, Oakland gave its trio of backs (Latavius Murray, DeAndre Washington, and Jalen Richard) 365 total carries. With Murray gone, Lynch should take over the early-down work and all red zone carries. After a year off, Beast Mode should be healthy enough to handle it. But they aren’t going to become a run-heavy team with Derek Carr and that stable of talented receivers.
Do not be fooled by Latavius Murray’s poor yards-per-carry numbers from last year (4.0); there is a reason the Raiders let him walk. Oakland possesses one of the best offensive lines in football, evident by Washington’s 5.4 YPC and Richard’s 5.9 YPC.
Lynch doesn’t have the burst of those two, but even after a year away from football, he will still be far more effective than Murray was.
In 14 starts last year, Murray found the endzone 12 times. When playing in at least 13 games with the Seahawks, Lynch never had fewer than 12 TDs. There are a lot more mouths to feed here in Oakland, though.
The 12-4 Raiders benefited from a pretty easy schedule last year. Two of their games get tougher in 2017, as a result of moving up the standings in the AFC West. As the division winner, they’ll have to face two more division winners than their AFC West brethren, thanks to the NFL’s unbalanced schedule.
Having to play the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs twice each year is nothing to look forward to. But Oakland does come in as the slight favorite to take what should have been theirs last season.
The Patriots path to obtaining home-field advantage in the playoffs is much easier than last year. Tom Brady won’t sit out the first four games of 2017, and the AFC East is even weaker now. If the Texans can figure out a viable option under center, they also have a much easier schedule than Oakland.
Marshawn Lynch doesn’t fix their 20th-ranked scoring defense. Until Oakland makes some big moves on the defensive side of the ball, it’s very unlikely they can dethrone the Pats.
Which city would have more Raider fans in attendance if they made it: Oakland or Vegas?
Let’s just hope it doesn’t come in front of 10,000 fans at the Coliseum. (Most of which are Lynch’s family and friends.)
The Raiders weren’t a sure bet to sellout the Coliseum before they announced they were abandoning the city.
This return isn’t about the Raiders, it’s about Lynch’s hometown: Oakland. Why would he want to roll with the team that’s turning its back on his city?
How many packs of Skittles will it take for Mark Davis to change his mind?
Are Raiders games even going to be nationally televised this year?
I expect nothing less during the last game played in Oakland. He’d be even more popular if he steered it in the direction of Davis.
Photo Credit: Keith Allison (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/].
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