Patriots fans celebrated the thought of Marshawn Lynch manning the backfield of their favorite team Monday when the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe reported the running back has privately expressed interest in joining New England.
Lynch to the Patriots sounds pretty appealing on paper, right? Beast Mode was one of the NFL’s premier running backs before retiring after the 2015 season despite a slightly down, injury-prone final campaign in which he carried the ball 111 times for 417 yards with three touchdowns in seven games.
But it could be an expensive and complicated process to get Lynch in the Flying Elvis helmet. Lynch still would be under contract with the Seattle Seahawks if he truly decides to unretire. His 2017 salary would be $9 million, and he has two years left on his contract.
If Lynch unretires, the Seahawks then would have to decide to keep him, trade him or release him. If there’s interest from the Oakland Raiders or Patriots, then it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for the Seahawks to let go of Lynch for free.
So, acquiring Lynch possibly would require the Patriots to not only give up compensation for the running back but also pay him $9 million in 2017. The Patriots have the cap room, but Lynch does come with some risk after sitting out the 2016 season and struggling in 2015. It might be a better use of the Patriots’ cap room to carry it over into 2018 rather than spending it on an aging running back, especially since they already have Rex Burkhead under contract and could bring back LeGarrette Blount for a fraction of that $9 million.
If the Seahawks decide to release Lynch, then it certainly could make sense to grab him off the open market if he’s willing to take a pay cut. But Lynch expressing interest in joining the Patriots doesn’t mean this is a simple process to work out.
As Howe reported, Lynch to the Patriots seems like a long shot at this point, and while it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on, there are a lot of details to work out for it to go down.
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