Contrary to popular opinion, missing out on Marshawn Lynch wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Oakland Raiders
The possibility of Marshawn Lynch returning to the NFL to don the Silver and Black has got Oakland Raider fans all riled up. When the story broke last week that Oakland had finally reached a deal with Beast Mode, Raider Nation started coming unglued.
But like Lynch’s career, the contract talks became swirled in controversy and grinded to a halt. The former Seattle Seahawk has been notoriously tight lipped throughout his career and was true to form when he shut down speculation from his twitter account. For their part, the Raiders have also kept negotiations close to the vest.
All of the backroom wheeling and dealing has been fodder for NFL writers and bloggers, but the clock is ticking. Draft day is approaching and any real uncertainty will put the Raiders in a tough spot when the draft opens on April 27. If the Marshawn Lynch contract isn’t done by then, it may be best for the Oakland Raiders to just move on from the controversial running back.
Lynch has become the biggest story of the offseason after stories leaked of his interest to return to the NFL. Lynch’s recent visit to Oakland kicked the Beast Mode chatter into high gear. Pundit after pundit raved about what an impact player Lynch would be for the Silver and Black rushing attack.
Much of the love for Lynch is based on his 2014 season and Pete Carroll’s now infamous decision to pass instead of run on the goal line. Carroll’s decision cost the Seahawks the Super Bowl but propelled Lynch’s career to legendary status. But NFL fans have a short memory. They forget the controversy surrounding Marshawn Lynch just prior to that 2014 Super Bowl season.
NFL players often receive undue scrutiny, especially if they operate outside of what the media considers normal for a high-profile player. So reports on off-the-field behavior and touchdown celebration antics can almost be excused as unfair. But in Lynch’s case, the problems don’t stop there. They creep into the locker room. Before bringing him back on a renegotiated deal prior to the 2015 season, the Seahawks almost considered cutting him loose. Not for his public antics, but for the actions causing division in the locker room.
After the trade, the hard feelings lingered on into the 2015 season, when Lynch gained only 417 yards in an injury-shortened season. The next season, Lynch retired.
The Oakland Raiders finally put it together in 2016. If not for the injury to Derek Carr, the Raiders may have made a trip to the Super Bowl. Now the expectations are high with all of Raider Nation expecting a return trip to the playoffs — a task that became a little harder with the offseason distractions surrounding the upcoming move to Las Vegas.
Marshawn Lynch is a talented running back, even at 31 years old. But signing the talent comes with baggage as well. Oakland as a team has good chemistry, but adding Lynch could throw that chemistry out of balance. The Raiders have enough distractions to deal with this season, they don’t need another in Lynch.
Whatever decision is made about Lynch should be made before the draft. When the Raiders are on the clock, they must have Beast Mode under contract if they’re going to. If not, they should draft a running back to fill the gaping hole left by the departure of Latavius Murray.