Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch announced his retirement the same day as Super Bowl 50 back in early 2016. He left behind a legacy of being bruising-back, with a very specific personality. His final season though in 2015, was one to be forgotten. A sports hernia injury limited him to half the season where he had his lowest yards per-carry average in five seasons (3.8 ypc) and when he did return in the playoffs, he was held to 20 yards rushing by the Carolina Panthers.
He has sat out an entire year after this and now is ready to play again. And he wants to play for his hometown team, the Oakland Raiders. Alrighty then. . .
The Raiders are in need of a running game. One would guess that the current starter is Deondre Washington who ran for over five yards a carry on limited opportunities behind Lativius Murray. Although the Raiders organization likes Washington, they are a team that feels they can challenge the Patriots in the AFC – and a healthy Marshawn Lynch just might be what pushes them ahead.
Lynch and the Raiders have apparently come to an agreement and it’s all pending a trade with the Seahawks who still own Lynch’s rights.
If the Raiders aren’t going to have to shell out a lot of dough for Lynch, it’ll be worth the gamble. Lynch provides them a strong running game as well as a tough veteran presence in the huddle.
There are a few red flags though when considering this move.
The most obvious is that Lynch’s running style is violent and after years of running as hard as he does, are we to believe that a 30 year old back, who is a year removed not only from the game of football but also a sports hernia injury, can be the player he once was? And even if he is that guy on the field – remember the mention earlier of his specific personality?
Lynch is on another planet. He gives the media a hard time and is pretty much a loner. His playing style goes in contrast with his personality – he does not exhibit the “brute” type of energy off the field. He is more of a recluse, who tells corny jokes while staring at the floor. For a team like the Raiders, it’s obvious they all gel together. From Derek Carr all the way down, the culture has been remixed in Oakland and everyone is feeling good about themselves. Lynch could potentially throw a wrench into that harmony. As stated by Matt Calkins of the Seattle Times, Lynch was integral to building the culture in Seattle and “that gave him locker-room clout that might not await him in Oakland.”
The Oakland Raiders averaged 4.4 yards a carry last year. They know that in order to maintain the success their offense had this year as well as the progression of their young quarterback Derek Carr, they would like to keep that the same, or obviously, get better. If Lynch has at least one more good run left in him, it will turn out to be an upgrade for a team that already boast one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.