The stacked veteran running back market just received a jolt of intrigue: the potential reintroduction of Marshawn Lynch.
"Beast Mode" is being looked at as a potential option for the Oakland Raiders, a source informed of the team's interest told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. Lynch, however, is retired and his playing rights are owned by the Seattle Seahawks. Rapoport also noted there is no indication the Raiders have contacted the Seahawks yet about Lynch.
Most importantly, Lynch hasn't said he wants to come out of retirement to play again. A source told NFL Network's Mike Garafolo that Lynch has been keeping in shape and is mulling over the idea of coming back, but hasn't made any decisions.
Rapoport reported Monday that Lynch would only want to play for the Raiders if he decided to come out of retirement. A source also told Rapoport that Lynch's comeback is "realer than it's even been."
KGMZ-FM in San Francisco first reported the development on Thursday.
Lynch turns 31 in a month, which makes Oakland's fascination all the more intriguing. They allowed 27-year-old Pro Bowler Latavius Murray to walk in free agency and have yet to eye up Adrian Peterson, who has expressed interest in playing for the Raiders in the past.
Instead, they are hoping to sign the hometown hero who has not played in a game since Jan. 17, 2016 -- a playoff contest against the Carolina Panthers. In that game he carried the ball six times for 20 yards. In his last full season back in 2014, Lynch carried the ball 280 times for 1,306 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Still, the Raiders aren't in a strong position to orchestrate a potential trade with the Seahawks. As Rapoport noted, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie isn't interested in giving up any decent draft picks and the team is saving money to eventually sign Derek Carr and Khalil Mack to long-term contracts.
This is a strange situation for the Raiders, who must have had some sort of intel that Lynch is remaining in shape without violating the league's tampering rules. According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, there were rumblings that Lynch might come out of retirement in 2016 and, at that time, Seattle had "no intention of letting him go without compensation." Rapoport added that the Raiders tried to trade for Lynch last year and it nearly happened, though the heralded power back opted to remain retired.
Has that changed with another year?
After Lynch's artful retirement announcement during Super Bowl 50, the tea leaves have suggested he still had some gas left in the tank.
If nothing else, this is a nice move by the Raiders to inject some hometown pride into their team amid a time of possible upheaval. Lynch has done philanthropic wonders in the Bay Area over the years and would probably jump at the chance to serve his fans on the football field as well. Now, the question becomes how the Raiders navigate all the red tape to make that happen.