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John Clayton

Clayton: What is Marshawn Lynch looking for to return to the NFL?

John Clayton doesn't think Marshawn Lynch will return to the NFL for less than $6 million a year. (AP)

Marshawn Lynch officially made his push to come out of retirement by visiting the Oakland Raiders this week.

That’s the first step in getting him back in football, but plenty more has to happen before this is done. What seems easy isn’t as easy as you would think.

First, Lynch has to apply to the league for reinstatement. Then he had to make sure he gets a few concessions from the Seahawks, who hold his rights on the reserve-retired list. Because he missed last season, the Seahawks could ask him to pay $2.5 million, the unused pro-ration of signing bonus money the Seahawks let him keep despite not playing in 2016.

Clayton: Sherman talks are real, but a trade wouldn’t be easy to make

Remember, Lynch and the Seahawks parted on good terms, so Seattle let him keep $5 million. You can see Lynch is still on those good terms, too. The Seahawks didn’t have to let him visit the Raiders, but they did. Seahawks GM John Schneider has a great relationship with Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, who he worked with in Green Bay. The Raiders wanted to get together with Lynch, and the Seahawks had no problems.

The biggest question in the Lynch story is his price tag. It’s hard to imagine him giving a big discount to the Raiders play in his hometown of Oakland. And because the upcoming NFL Draft is considered to have a great crop of running backs, the price for veteran RBs has dropped to the $4 million to $5 million range. Former Raider Latavius Murray signed a three-year, $15 million deal, but the Minnesota Vikings could get out of it after one year at around $4.2 million. Eddie Lacy got $4.25 million from the Seahawks. Jonathan Stewart signed an extension with Carolina for $4 million a year.

The running back market has been tighter than last year. Adrian Peterson is finding that out. You would figure it might take an $8 million salary to satisfy him, and if the market is at $4 million to $5 million, you can understand why Peterson is still looking for work.

Maybe this is me, but I don’t know if Lynch would play for less than $6 million. Lynch doesn’t need the money, but he knows the value of a dollar. It wasn’t a surprise he made this visit to Oakland on the eve of a premiere for a movie he produced.

Dave Wyman: The difficulties Seahawks face with Sherman, Lynch situations

If the Raiders can satisfy Lynch financially, then the Seahawks have to figure out if they want anything. They could ask Lynch for the $2.5 million back. They might ask the Raiders for a draft choice – maybe they can get back the seventh-round pick they used to acquire linebacker Dewey McDonald last September.

I would say the odds are still against Lynch getting back on the field. It’s hard to envision him wanting to be part of Oakland’s offseason program. He would be there for the minicamp and training camp. But don’t count him out. He’s interested.

Want more John Clayton? Listen on-demand to his weekday and Saturday shows as well as his “Cold Hard Facts” and “Clayton’s Morning Drive” segments on 710 ESPN Seattle. Also, check out his all-new “Schooled” podcast and look for his columns twice a week on 710Sports.com.

About the Author

John Clayton

John Clayton is hosting a new weekday show from 10 to noon and writing columns for 710Sports.com as part of his expanded role at 710 ESPN Seattle. Clayton also hosts his own Saturday morning show and appears each weekday on "Brock and Salk" as well as "Danny, Dave and Moore." Nicknamed "The Professor" for his wealth of football knowledge, Clayton has been covering the NFL for more than four decades, starting as a high-schooler in 1972 for the Daily Press in St. Marys, Pa. He joined The Pittsburgh Press in 1976, moved to The News Tribune in 1986 and joined ESPN full time in 1998 as a senior NFL writer and commentator. In 2007, Clayton was inducted into the writers' wing of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter @ClaytonESPN

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