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Marshawn Lynch, Raiders waiting to see how draft plays out before deciding whether to re-sign

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NFL: Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Last month the Raiders said essentially that the ball was in Marshawn Lynch’s court as to whether the 32-year-old running back would return to the Raiders for a third season. Well, knowing that there is one team and one team only that would have Beast Mode back for another NFL season allows the Raiders not to have to rush anything. So, the wait to find out if he will return will wait a bit longer.

As Mike Mayock said, the decision won’t be made until we see how the draft plays out.

This is actually a smart move. It keeps the Raiders options at the position wide open. Should they have a running back they really like fall in their lap at a pick they want to take him, they will draft the future at the position. If not, they have perhaps the best contingency plan in the league.

Currently only one running back in the draft is considered worthy of one of their top four picks in the top 35 — Alabama’s Josh Jacobs. Jacobs is the most commonly mocked player to the Raiders in recent mock drafts, but that doesn’t mean they would be any more likely to draft him. They have a lot of needs other than running back — pass rusher most notably.

Barring any trades to acquire more picks or packaging lower round picks to move up, after pick 35 the Raiders don’t have another selection until early in the 4th round (they sent their third round pick to Pittsburgh as part of the Antonio Brown trade). So, should they not pick a running back in the top 35, it would seem to raise the odds of Lynch coming back.

Last season, Lynch averaged 4.2 yards per carry before being lost to a groin injury in week six. Prior to the injury, he looked as powerful and elusive as he has ever looked, showing no sign of slowing down. And with guys like Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson still playing at a high level at 34+, there’s no reason to assume Marshawn can’t still play just because he is in his 30s.