The Raiders didn’t have to wait until draft day to add a coveted piece to their offense.
Marshawn Lynch, the Oakland native and former All-Pro running back, has agreed to terms with the Raiders on a contract, according to multiple national reports, ending weeks of speculation about whether the chance to play for his hometown team would be enough to bring the 31-year-old out of retirement.
Lynch appeared to confirm the news Wednesday morning on his Twitter feed, posting a short message titled “It’s time” and ending with a vernacular reference to Oakland: “town bizzness breath (sic) on me.”
The Raiders’ deal with Lynch is for two years, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. NFL Network was reporting the maximum value of the deal at $8.5 million, including a $3 million base salary this season and an incentive of $2 million more if Lynch gains 1,000 yards.
Oakland obtained Lynch’s rights by agreeing to a trade of late-round 2018 draft picks with Seattle. According to NFL Network, the Raiders were to trade their fifth-round pick for the Seahawks’ sixth-round pick.
Lynch has been in Haiti doing charity work with former Seahawks teammate Cliff Avril. He was expected to meet with the Raiders on Wednesday to take a physical, the final step before his deal could be completed. Lynch must also eventually file paperwork with the league to un-retire.
Adding Lynch means the Raiders don’t need to look in this year’s draft for a power back to replace Latavius Murray, who departed in free agency. Lynch, one of the most dynamic running backs in the league in his time, joins an Oakland backfield that has two springy second-year complementary backs in DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard.
Lynch rushed for 9,112 yards and 74 touchdowns over nine seasons with the Bills and Seahawks and played in consecutive Super Bowls with Seattle, where he also coined the term “Beast Mode” to describe his physical running style.
He has not played in the NFL, however, since a Jan. 17, 2016, playoff loss at Carolina and was limited to just seven games in his final season by injuries. He ran for 417 yards that season and averaged 3.8 yards per carry.
“I think he’s the most physical guy I’ve played against,” Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack said recently of Lynch. “I remember playing against him, I believe, my second season. They ran a power right at me. I remember that play. You’re talking about one of the most physical guys I’ve played against, running back-wise.”
Lynch visited the Raiders’ facility earlier this month while weighing a comeback. Head coach Jack Del Rio later said his impression was that Lynch was “excited to play for the Oakland Raiders.” The team expressed a desire to get a deal done before the draft, which begins Thursday, and it appears they came in just under the deadline.
This season was one of the last chances for Lynch to play in his hometown as the Raiders are set to relocate to Las Vegas in 2020. The team will play in Oakland this season and has an option to stay at the Coliseum in 2018. Its home for 2019 is undetermined.
Quarterback Derek Carr was one of the first Raiders players to welcome Lynch on social media Wednesday morning.