Raiders still interested in acquiring Marshawn Lynch from Seahawks

ByPaul Gutierrez ESPN logo
Friday, April 21, 2017

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders remain interested in acquiring retired running back Marshawn Lynch from the Seattle Seahawks, even if talks have seemingly quieted down of late.

And though the NFL draft is next week, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said whether or not Lynch is with the team by then will not affect his draft board.

"At some point you'd like to know and prior to the draft is that point," McKenzie said Friday during a media conference to preview the draft. "Our door is open and we're not shutting the door until that time, pretty much.

"Never going to say never, but the door is still open."

Lynch, an Oakland native who played at Cal, visited the Raiders on April 5. Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said the meeting was "part of the process" of getting to know the player, and if he would fit with the team.

"I've been familiar with Marshawn in the past but [the meeting was] just part of the process and doing our due diligence, seeing where he is and talking about expectations here and how they match up and things like that," Del Rio said.

Did Del Rio come away from the meeting convinced Lynch wants to play football after being retired in 2016?

"Every indication I got was that he was excited to play for the Oakland Raiders," Del Rio said.

Still, there is the issue of Lynch's rights still being owned by the Seahawks and Lynch, should he be acquired by Oakland, agreeing to more of an incentive-based contract since his current deal has him due a salary cap number of $9 million in 2017 and a base salary of $7 million in 2018.

The Raiders currently have an estimated $32.1 million in salary cap space and only two running backs on the roster in 5-foot-8 mighty mites DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard.

"Like I said, I would like to have an answer [before the draft], but it's not going to be the end all," McKenzie said. "If it's a good back that we like, and we're not going to go out of our way to just grab a certain big back ... we feel good about the young backs we have and if we can add another back, we will.

"We're trying to get some more impact players and if it's Marshawn, if it's whoever, we're going to do it."

McKenzie also said suspended outside linebacker Aldon Smith has no bearing on the Raiders' board, either.

"Our thought process is just on the draft; we're not considering Aldon at this point," McKenzie said. "He's still on the suspension list so we're not considering him at this point."