The 2017 NFL free agency market received a massive jolt Wednesday when ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that running back Marshawn Lynch, who retired before the 2016-17 season, was traded from the Seattle Seahawks to the Oakland Raiders. To acquire Lynch, Oakland dealt its fifth-round pick in the 2018 draft and received the Seahawks’ 2018 sixth-round pick in return.
Perhaps most surprising are the terms of the deal. Sources say Lynch will earn a $9 million base salary, with up to $16.5 million in incentives, as first reported by HuffPost.
That will make him at least the 13th highest paid running back next season, and is a much larger deal than that of perennial Pro Bowler Adrian Peterson, who just signed with the Saints.
The Oakland, California, native and collegiate All-American at the University of California was the Buffalo Bills’ 12th overall pick in the 2007 draft, but really hit his stride after being traded to Seattle in 2010 ― twice leading the league in rushing touchdowns and twice earning All-Pro honors.
The dynamic Lynch ― who also possesses stellar pass-catching skills ― has been remarkably durable as well, particularly for such a physical runner. In the 2011-2014 seasons, he only missed one game.
Lynch’s interest in returning to football ― specifically with the Raiders ― surfaced in March, but appeared to hit a holding pattern until Wednesday’s news. While his hometown team has plans to move to Las Vegas, it will still be in Oakland for at least the 2017 season.
Of course, at 31 years old as of Saturday, he faces the question of how much he has left in the tank. A recent NFL Network report notes that “Beast Mode” ― a five-time Pro Bowler ― is in shape, and the Raiders will be able to pair two talented young runners with him in Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington after letting Latavius Murray walk in free agency.
Combine Lynch with the emergence of a budding superstar quarterback in Derek Carr, a top five offensive line, and the uber-talented Amari Cooper at receiver, and the Raiders ― fresh off their first playoff appearance in 14 years ― are set to have one of the most explosive offenses in the league.