You may have heard the news; it’s been shared a couple of times now – Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch has agreed to terms with the Oakland Raiders. On the heels of his trip to Haiti to help the community rebuild, the venerable running back passed his physical and was officially added to the Raiders’ roster. What this means for the Raiders is an offense that will be nearly unstoppable.
Lynch rejoins his former Seahawks teammate Bruce Irvin, who came over to the Raiders during the 2016 offseason and proved himself one of the best pickups of the season. Between Baby Reggie and punter Marquette King, Marshawn was almost dared to sign with the Silver and Black. Last season was a struggle for the Raiders team, mostly because of their defensive failings. The offense, however, looked like a championship team. Despite some problems with drops late in the season, the team still managed to finish top ten in the league in almost every category, damn near top five in most of them except passing yards, where they landed 13th. They finished 6th in rushing yards, a stat that’s all but guaranteed to go up with Beast Mode running from the backfield. Remember when he was drafted by Buffalo and still made monster plays? Imagine the man behind a consistent, competent offensive line and blockers. The prospect is frightening for opposing defenses.
Oakland has a top three ranked offensive line, depending on the source. With the returning starters and a possible new addition to the right tackle position, the O-Line will poise to take over the #1 spot in that race. When that happens, the Raiders will be in prime position for another Lombardi trophy. Lynch has one ring and is hungry to add another one to his trophy case. Oakland is his hometown, and the Raiders would like nothing more than to bring another Super Bowl trophy to the Black Hole before it’s gone. Doing it with the hometown boy is cathartic. It will remain to be seen if he stays with the team after the move to Vegas. Ian Rapoport reported that the running back could earn up to an additional few million for hitting the 1,000-yard rushing mark. That’s a good indicator of things to come. After all, he is bearing the weight of an entire community on his shoulders.
The deal signed between the two comes just a day after another veteran running back took a deal with the Saints. Adrian Peterson was passed on by just about every other team because he was asking for too much money. It’s hard to justify $7-$10 million per year for a 32-year old running back who has a history of injuries. That signing probably helped push the Lynch-Raiders deal through, as there was some question about the salary. A precedent was set with the older Peterson signing a deal for about the same amount as Lynch did with the Raiders. Peterson won’t have incentives like Oakland offered though, that one is all Beast Mode.
Oakland’s former back Latavius Murray put up solid numbers, and good in short yardage situations, but the Raiders now have a future hall-of-famer joining Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington in the backfield. Now, THIS is a three-headed monster! Between Best Mode and the Bullet Brothers (a moniker I coined for the two small backs who shoot out of a scrum like bullets), they can run over, duck under, or bowl through just about anything. The vet will teach those two youngsters some invaluable wisdom that only that kind of talent can impart.
Marshawn Lynch is known for his mystique on and off the field. He’s not a fan of the press pushing him for info, as he’s already evidenced. He’s just here so he doesn’t get fined. That mystique lends to the overall culture that the Raiders have always possessed. Even though the bad boy image has been mostly shed in recent years, the team is still scary, if for nothing more than their legacy of punishing people on the field. Lynch fits so perfectly into that aura and personifies what it means to be a Raider.
Don’t worry, Beast Mode; you can have the ball on the 1-yard line. Welcome home