JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton: Marshawn Lynch has everyone guessing, but NFL return wouldn’t be easy for Beast Mode

Mar 22, 2017, 6:00 AM | Updated: 10:51 am
A big question about Marshawn Lynch's potential NFL return is how much money he could be looking fo...
A big question about Marshawn Lynch's potential NFL return is how much money he could be looking for. (AP)
(AP)

Marshawn Lynch once again has the NFL world guessing.

He’s gotten word out that he’s considering an end to his retirement. His possible mission is to play for his hometown Oakland Raiders. For a player who detested being in the news and granting interviews, Lynch has become a master of generating publicity.

He rides camels overseas. He played the bagpipes in Scotland. He opens retail outlets to sell his Beast Mode gear. As he says so often, “I’m all about that action, boss.” But the question remains: Will Beast Mode return? And because it involves Marshawn Lynch, nobody knows and everyone is guessing.

I’d give it about a 15 percent chance of happening. The thought is real, but a lot of things have to be figured out before anything happens.

Gee Scott: What is Marshawn Lynch’s endgame?

The Seahawks retain his rights because they have him on the reserve-retired list. Lynch wanted to retire after the 2015 season with two years left on his contract, and his agent, Doug Hendrickson, worked out a deal so both sides parted amiably. Lynch had $5 million of remaining pro-ration of a signing bonus upon his retirement, and while the Seahawks could have demanded he pay back that $5 million, they elected to let him keep the money. He meant that much to the building of this two-time Super Bowl team.

Lynch has a couple of options. He could apply for reinstatement into the league, and, if granted, his $9 million base salary would have to go on the Seahawks’ salary cap. That would put the Seahawks in position to cut him. It also would put the Seahawks in position to ask him for half of the $5 million back for not playing last year, and neither side would want that type of animosity.

The Seahawks might be able to get a draft choice from the Raiders if Oakland is really interested in Lynch, too. Last summer, the Raiders sent the Seahawks safety Dewey McDonald for a seventh-round pick in the 2017 draft, so the Raiders could just give them back that draft choice for Lynch. Think the Raiders would be OK with essentially trading McDonald for a starting running back who could help to get them to the Super Bowl? It’s a thought.

Blue 42 podcast: Why Raiders may prefer Marshawn over Adrian Peterson

The most important thing the Raiders have to figure out is what Lynch is going to be paid, though. It’s highly unlikely Lynch is going to come out of retirement for a low salary. He doesn’t need the money, but why would he go through the pain and the effort of getting ready for a football season for low pay?

No one can guess what he would want financially to play. Is it $4 million, $5 million, $6 million? Even his agent doesn’t know. Hendrickson went on San Francisco sports radio station KNBR on Tuesday and said his client misses the game of football but hasn’t talked much to him about coming back.

As elusive Lynch was as a running back and with the media, he remains that way in retirement. He keeps everyone guessing.

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.

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Clayton: Marshawn Lynch has everyone guessing, but NFL return wouldn’t be easy for Beast Mode