The roller coaster off-season for Oakland Raiders fans will continue. The team is moving in a few years and one positive light coming from The Town — Marshawn Lynch — hasn’t come to terms with the team after what’s seemed to be months of negotiations. Now, with the NFL Draft looming, is the addition of Lynch something the Raiders need? Here are some of the pros and cons of a potential Lynch signing.
The Raiders took a bit of a risk when they let their star running back Latavius Murray walk after a season in which the 27-year-old led Oakland in rushing. Murray also had 12 touchdowns and a yards per carry average of 4.0. However, the Raiders decided to hold out and have been working on a deal with the Seattle Seahawks and Lynch with hopes he’ll be the stalwart of a three-headed attack alongside Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington, who were both rookies last season.
Lynch is 30 years old and has been out of the league for a season. He left the NFL following the conclusion of the 2015/16 season after injuries plagued his year, but was rumored to have interest in returning to the gridiron shortly after the 2016/17 season ended. Lynch, prior to his last season in which he only played seven games, had double-digit touchdowns in four straight seasons with the Seahawks after being traded from the Buffalo Bills in 2010.
Lynch, who went to Oakland Technical High School, is a commodity even after missing a full season, according to the reports that the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots also had interest if a deal with Oakland fell through.
Although there is a debate as to what NFL team has the best offensive line, the Raiders boast three Pro Bowlers who will be tasked with opening holes for the veteran back most known for his ability to run through tacklers over and over and over… and over again.
Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele and Rodney Hudson are the Pro Bowlers while Gabe Jackson, who’s rumored to be working on a long-term deal with Oakland, has shown the ability to hold his own at right guard. The addition of Lynch would definitely propel the Raiders into almost all championship discussions, but the bigger story may be how key Lynch could be in helping the two young running backs.
Washington and Richard each had stellar rookie years as they combined for 958 rushing yards. Each back also averaged more than 5.0 yards per carry which is outstanding. The two were alternated throughout the year and each took advantage of their opportunities. When Murray went down, the two were a tandem in the rushing attack and helped keep the Raiders run game active on its way to being the sixth best in the league. This makes you wonder if Lynch is even necessary or if the team could benefit more from a younger running back prospect, such as Dalvin Cook, whom they could add in the upcoming draft.
The addition of Lynch may not be all Skittles and rainbows if the running back can’t come and produce. The benefit of Lynch, though, would be the fact that he’s a definite red zone presence and has the ability to get into the end zone (when given the ball at, I don’t know, the one-yard line). Lynch also has that nasty type of running style which bangs defenders and wears them down. He’d be a great counter to the speedy, agile rushing attack of Richard and Washington.
In Lynch’s last full season in the league (2014), the Seahawks averaged more than 170 yards per game on the ground and led the league by more than 20 yards per game, according to Pro Football Reference. Lynch had 52 carries inside the red zone (third most in the NFL that season) and had an 87.5% attempt rate inside the five-yard line.
While the Raiders have made their biggest turnarounds through the draft in the past four years, a player like Lynch could be that added push that propels the team to the Super Bowl for the first time in 15 years.
Featured image: 2015 Panini Origins