The Oakland Raiders might be inching towards acquiring retired running back Marshawn Lynch after releasing defensive tackle Dan Williams Tuesday. The departure of Williams, who was due $4.5 million in 2017, opens up additional cap space to pull off a deal for Lynch, whose rights still belong to the Seattle Seahawks.
Oakland now has roughly $28.7 million in cap space available for adding Lynch. The Raiders are reportedly negotiating with Lynch on a deal that would allow him to keep the $2.5 million owed to him by the Seahawks in bonus money instead of repaying the team. The Raiders and Lynch are expected to pull off an incentive-laden contract. The Raiders are not expected to surrender more than a conditional seventh-round pick to the Seahawks for the Bay Area native.
But if a deal doesn't happen soon, the Raiders may consider drafting a running back next week instead of trading for Lynch.
"The real deadline here is the draft," NFL insider Ian Rapoport said on Tuesday. "Because it is possible that the Raiders get on the clock Thursday night or Friday, and say 'All right, we're going to take this running back. He has a value here for us. We're just going to take the leap.' And once they take a running back, it probably will close the door on Marshawn Lynch."
Quarterback Derek Carr, who could be close to signing a contract extension, endorsed the idea of adding Lynch. Carr described the 30-year-old, who rushed for 1,306 yards in 2015, his last full NFL season, as "one heck a football player," but wasn't resting his hopes on Lynch as some type of savior for the offense.
"I’m focused on the guys that are here today and I can’t say, ‘Oh man, I hope he gets here,’ and all those things," Carr said at a Monday news conference. "Of course, anyone would want Marshawn Lynch. Any quarterback in the NFL—it doesn’t matter who you have behind you because we have great running backs. Anybody would say, ‘Add a good player to our team, absolutely.’ Because as we’ve seen, it could go like that for somebody so you always need more good players.
"But with that said, I’m focused on who’s here. And so I want to take this group and win the Super Bowl with this group that’s here and then as we add pieces, we’ll hug them up and bring them in just as a family and treat them the same way we do as all of our other teammates."
The Raiders aren't the only team interested in Lynch. There have been reports that he has garnered interest from the New England Patriots. Should Lynch make the move to the defending Super Bowl champions, it could mean the Patriots might make LeGarrette Blount available to Oakland, according to the Seattle Times.