Marshawn Lynch reportedly told the Raiders he would unretire to play for them, and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that Oakland is in talks to acquire Lynch from the Seahawks via trade.
The Seahawks still have Lynch under contract for the 2017 season, so if he wants to play for the Raiders, he has to be either released or traded.
What has to happen for Lynch to get traded?
If the Seahawks and Raiders work out a trade for Lynch, Lynch doesn’t have to file a letter with the NFL asking to be reinstated. It also would mean that the Seahawks can’t try to recoup the bonus money paid out to Lynch.
The trade route is also more complicated, because the Seahawks and Raiders have to agree to rework Lynch’s contract first. Lynch is due $9 million this year, and the Raiders aren’t going to pay that much.
Lynch had to get permission from the Seahawks to speak to the Raiders because he’s under contract. Lynch’s agents have also been given permission to hammer out a new deal so a trade can take place, according to NFL.com.
What if Lynch applies for reinstatement instead?
If the Raiders and Seahawks aren’t able to work out all of the details to make a trade for Lynch happen, then he can go ahead and apply for reinstatement with the NFL. According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, Lynch has already begun that process.
Upon reinstatement, Lynch would be back on the Seahawks’ roster, with his contract picking up where it left off.
The Seahawks would hold the right to get any signing bonus money back from Lynch, which is $5 million for the 2016 and 2017 seasons — if they were to release him.
As SB Nation’s Seahawks blog Field Gulls noted, the easiest route would be that the Seahawks release him and ask for the return on the bonus money. Then Lynch would be free to sign a new deal with the Raiders.
Either way, Lynch is inching closer and closer to returning to the NFL.