We’ve all heard of a win-win situation. Most times when a player signs with a team, it is a win-win. That being a win for the team and a win for the player. Otherwise they wouldn’t agree to terms. Marshawn Lynch coming to the Raiders is so much more than that.
There is so much winning in this deal it’s layered. It can only be described as a winception.
Grab your totem, sit back and enjoy all the wins that would come with Beast Mode in Silver & Black.
1. Fills a need
The most basic of wins here is there is a need at the running back position and signing a free agent fills that need. Latavius Murray was the starting running back the past two seasons in Oakland and even with the additions of rookies DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard, Murray still had half the overall carries with Washington and Richard splitting the rest. Lynch would be expected to take over the same feature back role.
2. He’s a perfect fit for Raiders
At 6-3, 225 pounds, Murray was a big back. But didn’t always play like it. It was only in flashes that you saw what Derek Carr referred to as ‘Angry Tay’. Lynch always plays like that. He’s 5-11, 215 pounds of Beast Mode every snap. It was clear the Raiders were allowing Murray to leave because they felt they could find a back who offered the same workhorse qualities as well as added aggressiveness to break tackles and fight for tough yards.
Before the possibility of Lynch arose, there were only a couple running backs on the market who offered that quality. The best one was Eddie Lacy, who as it happens signed with Seattle, making for a crowded backfield, along with Thomas Rawls and CJ Prosise, leaving no room/need for the $9 million Money Lynch contract. The assumption is the Seahawks would release Lynch upon his un-retiring allowing him to sign a more friendly deal with the Raiders who have considerably more spending room than the Seahawks anyway.
3. Opens up draft options
Until the first Lynch news dropped back on March 17 – 8 days into free agency -- it was looking like a foregone conclusion that the Raiders would need to look to the draft to fill the vacancy at running back. Adding Lynch would eliminate that need. They could keep their focus mostly on defense the first two days of the draft as they should.
Adding Lynch wouldn’t completely eliminate the possibility of the Raiders taking a running back. After all, they only carry one full back currently. It would simply remove it as a necessity. Make it an actual BPA situation should there be a guy they really like on the board later in the draft, they could take him. And if not, no big deal. They prefer to take running backs late in the draft anyway (Murray in round 6, and Washington in round 5) or not drafted at all (Richard).
4. Olive branch to fans in Oakland
If there are still fans in Oakland who are on the fence about coming to support the Raiders even though they’re set to leave town, trotting out hometown hero Marshawn Lynch could be just the thing to pull them back in. It would also be good for the team to get those tickets sold and for the fans who have long dreamt of what it would be like to see Oakland Tech grad and Cal Bear don the Silver & Black. It’s a win-win inside of a win-win. Putting us another layer into this winception.
5. Lynch retires with hometown Raiders
Beast Mode is his own man. He can stay retired comfortably if he wants to. But he doesn’t want to. He wants to play at least one more season, while he is still young enough to do it. And he only wants to do it for the Raiders, no doubt fulfilling a childhood dream of his as well as not having to leave his home in Oakland to come to work every day.
Any NFL player who has a long career will tell you they’d like to go out on their own terms. In most cases, that’s not how it happens. They still want to play even when their body won’t let them anymore. Lynch shocked the world when he retired after the 2015 season because he can still play. He just didn’t want to. The idea of playing for the Raiders gives him a renewed desire. He gets to play another year at the age of 31 after a year off to get healed up.
6. Lynch extends career, strengthens Hall of Fame credentials
Lynch is in the Hall of Fame discussion already. He is a five-time Pro Bowler and 1-time All Pro. Prior to his injury shortened 2014 season, he had made four straight Pro Bowls and helped lead the Seahawks to the Super Bowl twice, winning it in 2013. And had they gave him the (damn) ball in the following Super Bowl instead of passing it near the goal line, he’d probably have two Super Bowl rings.
Six times in his career he’s had over 1000 yards rushing in a season and currently sits at 9112 career rushing yards. That means he’s just 888 yards from 10,000 for his career. And behind that offensive line, that’s well within reach. 10K yards a nice round number for Hall of Fame voters to think about in 2022 or 2023. Especially if it comes with helping the Raiders to make a deep playoff run.
7. Bonus for Lynch Beast Mode brand
Lynch’s Beast Mode clothing line’s flagship store is in downtown Oakland a short drive up 880 from the Coliseum. But there is another store – in Seattle. With several items in the Seahawks’ neon green, blue, and grey. Can you imagine how much more popular the brand would become in Oakland with a line of Silver & Black that represented his having put on a Raiders uniform, if even for one season?
8. Bonus for the Raiders merchandise
You could call this another winception because the popularity of Lynch Raiders jerseys would be through the roof. The ticket sales plus merchandise from the addition of Lynch could make up whatever he is paid in salary.
9. Money Lynch has got plenty of it
This is a win based on the assumption that Lynch won’t be asking too much for his services. Along with all the other mutually beneficial aspects listed above, Lynch simply isn’t hurting for cash. That’s not his motivation in un-retiring. He’s known for being a frugal man who doesn’t lead a lavish lifestyle, living primarily off of his endorsement deals, which has allowed him to hold onto most, if not all of the $50 million he’s made in his NFL career. So, essentially the Raiders would get a lot of value from Lynch along with likely a heavily incentive laden contract for either one season or two seasons with an opt out after one.
No ‘win’ is more important than those on the scoreboard. Adding another weapon like Lynch puts points on the board which lead to wins in the books. From there it’s playoffs, perhaps a division crown, home field advantage, maybe a conference title, and of course the ultimate goal of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. As the Oakland Raiders.