The Raiders on field product is in position to be a force for several years to come despite growing turmoil off the field. Oakland may have been the stiffest obstacle between the Patriots and another Super Bowl if MVP candidate Derek Carr didn’t get injured late in the regular season.
However, there is one offseason rumor surrounding the Raiders that will not seem to go away: The possible return of retired running back Marshawn Lynch to join his hometown team in Oakland. Lynch reportedly visited team headquarters on Wednesday.
The Raiders have operated unconventionally throughout their history with mixed results. This particular out-of-the-box move is a bad idea. Here is why.
Oakland Has Bigger Needs Elsewhere
Oakland’s defensive unit ranked outside the top 20 against both the pass and run last year. Their total defense ranking followed suit. The Raiders were quite fortunate that Carr and the offense were so good last year.
The offense will be very good as long as Carr is healthy. Last year’s starting running back Latavius Murray is now with the Vikings, but the Raiders still have two talented young running backs on the roster.
With an above-average offensive line, bringing in another running back should be way down on the Raider’s list of priorities. It is somewhat surprising that linebacker Jelani Jenkins is Oakland’s only defensive free agent signing to this point with their defensive rankings. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that all of their football related resources need to be dedicated towards building the defense in the draft. Any time spent on Lynch is a waste.
Spell Out the Specifics, It Makes No Sense
The Raiders suddenly find themselves trying to make the jump from good to great after over a decade of futility. This is the toughest jump to make in the NFL. Lynch’s power running style and outlandish personality made him one of the best and most memorable running backs of his era.
In nine seasons, Lynch averaged over a thousand yards per season. A return would be interesting to see, but he will turn 31 later this month.
Ask yourself the following question: When was the last time an NFL team went from good to great by acquiring a 31-year-old running back who has not played in two years? One of Oakland’s decision makers needs to ponder this question before this flirtation goes any further.