ALAMEDA, Calif. — Retired Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch visited his hometown Oakland Raiders on Wednesday, and an NFL source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that a deal between the team and Lynch “eventually will happen.”
Former NFL punter Pat McAfee first reported the meeting for Barstool Sports. The Seahawks, who still retain Lynch’s rights, granted permission for the visit, a source told ESPN’s Sheil Kapadia, confirming multiple reports.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider, asked about the situation during an appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle on Wednesday, confirmed the Seahawks and Raiders have had talks over Lynch.
“I have a great relationship with Reggie McKenzie, who is the general manager of the Raiders. I shared an office with him for probably eight years [with the Green Bay Packers]. We’ve had dialogue about it,” Schneider said.
“Marshawn is trying to figure things out, the Raiders are trying to figure things out. My understanding is that if he would want to come back and play, that it would be for the Raiders and that’d be about it.”
Schneider was in the Packers’ front office when quarterback Brett Favre changed his mind about retirement and was traded to the New York Jets. He said he is leaning on that experience in the Lynch talks.
“You’re talking about guys are highly, highly popular football players in the National Football League,” Schneider said. “As an organization there’s that balance. You have to do the right thing by the organization first and the player second.”
Asked about the process of deciding whether to release Lynch or hold out for trade compensation, Schneider said, “It’s one that will go in a smooth manner because of our relationship.”
Lynch will turn 31 on April 22. He has rushed for 9,112 yards and 74 touchdowns in nine NFL seasons, though injury limited him to seven games in 2015, when he averaged 3.8 yards per carry. He last played on Jan. 17, 2016, in a postseason loss to the Carolina Panthers.
The Raiders are in need of a big lead back after Latavius Murray was allowed to leave for the Minnesota Vikings in free agency. Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington, both 5-foot-8, are entering their second seasons. Lynch is 5-foot-11.
Should Lynch come out of retirement, he is in line for a salary-cap hit of $9 million in 2017 and a base salary of $7 million in 2018. The Raiders are unlikely to part with draft picks for Lynch in a trade or to take on that salary. Oakland currently has just over $27.6 million in cap space and wants to extend quarterback Derek Carr, edge rusher Khalil Mack and right guard Gabe Jackson.
The Raiders would prefer Lynch is cut by the Seahawks so a new, cheaper contract could be discussed. Plus, they would want to do their due diligence on him to see if Lynch would fit into their system as well as their locker room, hence Wednesday’s visit.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said last week at the owners meetings that he met with Lynch recently and discussed the idea of returning to the NFL.
“I know that he is somewhat entertaining the thought of it,” Carroll said. “I can’t tell you how strong it is. You’ve got to talk to him.”
Carroll was asked whether Lynch could still be effective.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It depends on how he’s approached this offseason. He looked OK. The mentality that it takes to play this game the way he plays this game, he has to really be invested and ready because he goes deep when he plays. Whether or not that’s still in him, the burn is still there, I couldn’t tell that from talking to him. I know that he was playing with the idea.”