The Oakland Raiders are stuck in a game of contract chicken with Marshawn Lynch.
Lynch wants a contract in the $9 million range – the same number he made with the Seahawks - despite not having carried a football on an NFL field in 459 days.
The MMQB’s Albert Breer had some interesting nuggets on the Lynch – Raiders – Seahawks saga in his column today, and it’s far from a sure deal that Lynch winds up in the Bay Area.
“Maybe the Raiders are bluffing,” Breer wrote. “But my understanding is that as much as they liked meeting with Marshawn Lynch, and were impressed with the shape he’s in, it was communicated they’re willing to walk away from a potential deal.
“The draft would seem to provide a natural deadline, particularly because of the strength of this year’s running back class. That said, despite the outside hysteria, I’ve gotten the sense the Raiders/Lynch talks have remained positive.
“And a good example of another team that took a hard line with a running back – New England. The Patriots let LeGarrette Blount know they wouldn’t wait forever to sign him. They proved it by signing Mike Gillislee to an offer sheet.”
Here is what Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times wrote on the situation this week:
“The Raiders would prefer a much lower base (than $9 million) with a contract based heavily on incentives, especially considering Lynch turns 31 on April 22, hasn’t played in a year and played in only seven games, averaging 3.8 yards per carry, in his final season with Seattle in 2015.”
The Mercury News also points out that the 2017 NFL Draft is loaded with top-notch running backs with LSU’s Leonard Fournette, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara, and Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon all likely to be available in the first two rounds.
The leverage remains with the Raiders here considering Lynch has few other options. As discussed above, the Patriots signed Bills restricted free agent RB Mike Gillislee to and offer sheet and already have James White and Dion Lewis on the roster.