Garafolo mentions that Seattle was aware last year that Lynch was at least weighing the possibility of returning to the NFL and indications were that it would likely be for an opportunity to play for his hometown team — the Oakland Raiders.
However, Garafolo got the indication that the Seahawks had no intention of letting him move on without some sort of compensation for Lynch.
Lynch was actually in Seattle on Thursday and even stopped by the team’s facility and visited with a number of people in the organization, but there wasn’t any demand or request to be released. Although, Garafolo says that Lynch did “touch on the possibility of coming back.”
By returning to the NFL, Lynch would count $9 million against the Seahawks’ salary cap, which could force them to either release or trade him to a team like the Raiders, who are reportedly interested in Lynch.
The Seahawks still hold the rights to Lynch, who retired after the 2015 season, which means the Raiders would have to trade for him right now. However, there’s an existing relationship between Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie and Seahawks GM John Schneider from their time together in Green Bay.
Even so, it’s possible that the Seahawks could release Lynch and allow him to sign with his hometown team.
Sources tell ESPN that Lynch has considered the idea of returning to the NFL.
According to Ian Rapoport, there are two issues with the idea of the Raiders luring Lynch out of retirement: 1) The Raiders don’t want to give up draft picks to get Lynch outside of maybe a conditional seventh-round selection. 2) They’re saving money for the looming big-money extensions for QB Derek Carr and OLB Khalil Mack.
Rapoport adds that the Raiders unqiured about Lynch last year a trade nearly happened, but he elected to remain retired.
After Lynch decided to retire, the Seahawks placed him on the reserve/retired list, ensuring they held his rights if he elected to return to the NFL at some point.
Lynch, 29, has two years remaining on his three-year, $31 million contract that included $12 million guaranteed. He stands to make base salaries of $9 million and $7 million over the final two years of the agreement.
During his career, Lynch rushed for 9,112 yards rushing on 2,144 carries (4.3 YPC) to go along with 252 receptions for 1,979 yards receiving and 83 total touchdowns for the Seahawks and Bills.
Lynch is a five-time Pro Bowler and made one first-team All-Pro team in 2012. He also helped the Seahawks win a Super Bowl in 2013.