The Oakland Raiders have a hole to fill at running back with Latavius Murray leaving for Minnesota in free agency. They’re expected to make a trade with the Seahawks for Marshawn Lynch, but it isn’t a done deal yet.
In addition to Lynch being available, Adrian Peterson is also looking for a home. He has yet to sign a contract in free agency, and the Raiders seem like an obvious fit.
With Oakland having its choice of the two, which would be a better signing? Greg Jennings, Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless debated this exact scenario on Friday’s “Undisputed.”
Marshawn Lynch is the better fit
"Marshawn Lynch for me. I played with Adrian. I love his style of running, but his style of running at this stage in his career, his age, it’s something you have to look at and take into consideration.
"With his previous injuries, his number that he’s asking for, you just cant take that chance with a guy like Adrian. We’ve seen him coming off a year of sitting out – not wanting to sit out, but having to sit out – and he’d be remarkable coming back, but the injuries, the age, the recovery, it’s just not there when it comes to being able to bounce back into that Adrian Peterson-MVP mode.
"You’ve got Marshawn Lynch, who retired but still could be playing right now, sits out a year, coimes back. if he resets his mind and is able to lock in and do what we’ve seen him do, he’s taken less hits. He’s a bruiser style back, but his running style is so different than Adrian’s -- it’s not as taxing on his body.
Thearon W. HendersonGetty Images
Lynch has less mileage on his body
"And then the age. It’s only a year, but it’s different. If you look at the amount of carries, it’s a completely different age. Again, it's the style for me that sets [Adrian] so far apart when it comes to mileage and wear and tear.
"If you have a vehicle and you see their difference in age between a ’90 and a ’91, but you have one with 190,000 miles and one with 120,000, which vehicle are you going to take?"
Peterson has a history of bounce-back years
"I look at it like this. I would say Adrian Peterson because what I’ve seen from him is that normally when he has a bad year or he misses a year, he normally follows that up with an outstanding year. …
"I’m looking at both of these guys as two-down backs. Marshawn has better hands than Peterson, he can catch the ball, but I view him as a two-down back. I don’t think either of these guys is a 20-, 25-carry a game for the entire season anymore. I don’t think either can handle that workload.
"This is unheard of for a back of his caliber working out at this juncture in his career for any team. They said he had a great visit with the Saints. So either they don’t believe he can be close to the player he once was, or this is a monetary issue."
What's the price difference?
"But I’m looking at Marshawn, and what are the Raiders hoping? They let Latavius Murray go, who rushed for 800 yards and double-digit touchdowns.
"You think Marshawn is going to give you better than that? How much is Marshawn going to cost you? What’s the difference between Marshawn and Adrian Peterson? Is it $4 million to $7 million? Is it $3.5 million to $6.5 million? what’s the variable? All things being equal, if he says the money is the same, I would take Adrian Peterson."
Matt KartozianMatt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Peterson's injury history is too risky
"Once you start having multiple knee injuries late in a running back’s career, the risk factor is so high that you’re going to tear up a knee again that you just can’t risk it, especially for the price he’s probably commanding right now.
"I’m with Greg on this. If we’re talking about just for the Raiders, it’s closer for me. I don’t bet against Adrian in the weight room. However great of shape he can be in, he’s going to be in it. But you can’t fix your knees when you tear ligaments and destroy cartilage, it’s just hard to get it back. I just don’t know that I could trust it enough."
It's a perfect homecoming for Lynch
"But for Marshawn, this isn’t just his hometown team, it’s his home neighborhood team. he grew up in the shadow of that coliseum. So now it’s swan-song time for the Raiders. I don’t think Marshawn wants to play a couple of more years, so he’s never had huge constructive injuries – he had a bad hamstring tear that cost him most of the year.
"But that 2014 season for Marshawn Lynch was extraordinary. He was career highs in yards and catches and touchdowns. It was a big-time back year. I think he’s much fresher and much healthier than Adrian would be at this point in his career. And I think, a year younger, he’s got some pretty good football left."
Getty ImagesOtto Greule Jr
Peterson has a chip on his shoulder
"If you look at his running style, Adrian is a violent runner. He might separate your shoulder, but he might separate his shoulder lowering it on you.
"Marshawn is heavy footed, but he’s more of a side-to-side guy. He does have a little wiggle in him. but it’s hard for me to bet against Adrian Peterson because he always feels he has to prove something. And now he feels that, ‘OK, Minnesota, you don’t think I can play. OK, the Patriots are passing on me, you don’t think I can play.’ He has this chip. He’s gonna have to lower that price, though."