Marshawn Lynch, aka Beast Mode, will be playing in the NFL next season. Although Lynch may hold out until close to Week 1, or even until a few weeks of the regular season has passed, we will be seeing one of the best running backs of his time return to the spotlight. You may wonder why Lynch is waiting so long for his return. Isn’t that obvious? He wants to make sure he’s playing on a postseason-bound team. So it might suit him best to see how the first few weeks of the regular season plays out. His best fit will be a team that will be making a postseason run without him. That way when Lynch joins the roster, the team will immediately be a Super Bowl contender. Let’s be perfectly honest. If Lynch were to go to a team not destined for the playoffs, we’d all be pissed.
Lynch retired from football when everyone agreed – it was way too early to lose a talent that good. Regardless if you were a Seahawks fan or not, you wanted to see Beast Mode cut through defenses on a weekly basis. Lynch, though, knew he wouldn’t be the successful running back we got used to watching with his injured and hurting body. So he did the only thing he knew would let him heal properly, he left the game. But now Lynch is back to full health and ready to return to the field. There are a lot of team’s that could use a talented running back, but only a select group that truly would benefit from a player like Marshawn Lynch. So, here we list and rank the top eight teams that Lynch should play for and the top seven teams that should stay away at all costs.
15 Want: New York Giants
For the past few years the Giants running game has been among the NFL’s absolute worst. Yet the team is still a consistently in the postseason and only seems to be hampered by the lack of a run game late in the season. That’s exactly what Marshawn Lynch is looking for. Lynch doesn’t need to be utilized too much early on with this move and he has a nearly guaranteed spot in the postseason if he were to play with the Giants.
But the Giants aren’t higher up on this list because of that New York media. Although Lynch has shown more of his personality since retirement (he has appeared on a couple TV shows including Brooklyn 99), we all know that once he gets into uniform it’s going to be as if he’s a mute when in front of reporters. And the New York media scene will badger Lynch more than anything he ever saw in Seattle. So although this would be a good fit on the field, we don’t think it’s likely because of off-field obligations that Lynch surely wants to avoid.
14 Stay Away: Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons aren’t necessarily in the market for another running back, but the addition of Marshawn Lynch would give them some trading power in the form of either Devonta Freeman or Tevin Coleman. That would add a lot of work for Atlanta’s front office, but if the team wants another deep postseason run then they should be up for the challenge. But if this offer were to ever come, Lynch should decline. In fact, he should just run away from all talks with Atlanta.
Part of the problem is that the NFC South is one of the toughest divisions in football and will likely be the strongest division next season. The Falcons have to play two games against each of the three other teams in the division, all of which have extremely powerful offenses. Because of this, Lynch should stay away from the Falcons, who won’t be making the playoffs next year because the likes of Tampa Bay and New Orleans will be too powerful to overcome.
13 Want: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Remember how we just said the NFC South will likely be the strongest division in the NFL next season. Well, that’s largely due to the fact that the Buccaneers are going to end up being one of the best regular season teams. Jameis Winston and Mike Evans have formed a great relationship that tends to stun defenses. And they added DeSean Jackson to the mix. That’s almost not fair for the opposition and it’s a large part of the reason that Tampa Bay won’t have an issue outscoring such an offensively-strong division.
The one part of Tampa Bay’s offense that lacks true explosiveness is at the running back spot. Doug Martin isn’t bad, but he’s definitely no Marshawn Lynch. Martin would be an outstanding No. 2 rusher, which would be good because the 30-year-old Lynch shouldn’t be worn out before the postseason. Let’s be honest, that’s the real reason anyone is going to pay the big bucks for the retired rusher.
12 Stay Away: Miami Dolphins
Don’t be fooled, the Dolphins are not a playoff-bound team. As much as it may seem like the team is destine for another playoff run, it’s not going to happen. Last year was an odd fluke where everything seemed to work in the regular season for that team down in Miami.
It should be noted that the Dolphins are in a much, much better place in terms of their running game than they were at this time last season. Before we saw Jay Ajayi break out as one of the better running backs in the league, the Dolphins had one of the weakest rushing attacks. Now the Dolphins have a really good running back. That’s why the addition of Lynch would be so great. They could essentially let him get some reps in the regular season (not many though) and then unleash him late in the year. Even without Lynch, the rushing game in Miami won’t be the reason the team doesn’t make the playoffs. It’ll be a combination of a weak scoring game along with a defense that will falter from injuries and missteps.
11 Want: Indianapolis Colts
This would be a somewhat risky decision for the currently retired running back because the Colts will likely be on the bubble of either just making the playoffs or just missing out on a potential postseason run. The addition of Marshawn Lynch would surely edge them in the direction of playing more than 16 games, but it is somewhat tough to imagine Lynch spending most of his time in Indianapolis. But he should consider that possibility.
Again, we have a team that has a really good running back in Frank Gore. But Gore is on the final stretch of his career and there’s no way in telling how much longer he can handle the workload dumped on a starting running back. Gore shouldn’t be tasked with that next year and neither should a guy like Lynch. So why not match them up together and split the work load.
10 Stay Away: Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs could really use a guy like Marshawn Lynch. Lynch would bring an energy to this offense that has been unseen in recent years. Think about it. There has rarely been a time over the last couple of seasons where it has been entertaining to watch the Chiefs offense on Sunday. There’s always a good chunk of teams out there that have more playmakers and can set off a scoring frenzy in an instant.
Lynch would just get too overworked if he were to sign with Kansas City. The team has just an average passing game, at best, and there isn’t a lot of options for guys you want to have the ball when the game is on the line. If Lynch were added to that mix, we’d see a guy struggling to average three yards per carry because the defense would always know that the run is coming. Although the Chiefs have a shot at returning to the postseason, it’s not a type of team Lynch would enjoy playing for now that he’s passed that 30-year-old mark.
9 Want: Seattle Seahawks
What’d you think was going to happen here? No way would we ever suggest a guy like Marshawn Lynch, who has built up so much success with this one team, move to a different team. Technically, if Lynch decides to return to the NFL, he’ll be required to suit up in a Seattle Seahawks jersey. That would be a great sight for Seattle fans and it wouldn’t be a bad move for Lynch.
Although it seems like he’s not even entertaining the thought of returning to Seattle, let’s look at some of the benefits if he were to return to his previous team. First off, he returns to a fan base that has shown him nothing but love so it wouldn’t be the worst idea to go to a place where he’ll be welcomed with open arms. But more importantly, he’s familiar with the offense and the coaches are familiar with him. All of that added to a team already destined for the playoffs and you’ve go a team that can potentially make a run for the Super Bowl.
8 Stay Away: Los Angeles Chargers
You might think that Melvin Gordon has the rushing game handled in Los Angeles, but the Chargers could use some help with their offense. After looking at the dismal five-win season last year, it’s obvious something needs to be done. Marshawn Lynch shouldn’t fall into that trap, but the Chargers should pursue the retired rusher. Of course, the main focus of the coming months should be finding a reliable receiving threat as injuries always tend to weaken options Philip Rivers has to throw to.
Although Rivers may not be the sole person to blame, it’s obvious that something needs to be done since he’s led the league in interceptions in two of the last three seasons. That’s such an awful statistic and maybe Lynch could help ease that pressure. But Lynch shouldn’t fall into that trap. He deserves to play on a team heading to the playoffs and there’s just too much work to be done in Los Angeles to make that happen.
7 Want: Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings are poised to strike and the addition of Latavius Murray shouldn’t steer the team away from a talent like Marshawn Lynch. The main reason the Vikings are going to rebound next season is because of quarterback Sam Bradford. Bradford is one of the most accurate (possibly the most accurate) quarterbacks in the NFL. He’s been playing well with minimal surrounding help and for the first time in his career he truly has some threatening weapons to use on offense.
This is going to lead to a winning record and a lot of scoring along the way. Because of the signing of Murray, Lynch won’t have to brunt the entire workload. It seems like that’s something that should be considered a huge advantage for a guy like Lynch. He’s already proven he can do it all by himself, so now is a great time for him to jump in for the plays that truly matter and sit back and enjoy the game the rest of the time.
6 Stay Away: Washington Redskins
The Redskins have signed their star quarterback so why not match him up with a very talented running back. It’s not a bad game plan, but it’s not the move that will help Washington succeed in 2017. The Redskins have barely edged out a winning record in each of the past two seasons, but since they have, it seems they’re giving all that credit to Kirk Cousins, who received a very large one-year contract not too long ago.
Despite losing their primary receiving threats, fans of the Redskins still feel as if a postseason run is imminent. Well … it’s actually much further away than you would think. Even if you dumped more money onto the problem and acquired Lynch, there would be no one for Cousins to go downfield with. There’s no more DeSean Jackson and we have yet to see how the team is going to fill that void. Lynch surly isn’t the solution.
5 Want: Green Bay Packers
As long as Aaron Rodgers is leading Green Bay’s offense, this is a great fit for any running back. While Rodgers is in uniform, the Packers will be a lock for the playoffs. It doesn’t matter who’s surrounding him, as long as there are guys to block and receivers to throw to, Rodgers will get this team to the postseason. The addition of a guy like Marshawn Lynch would just guarantee them a first round bye along with at least a win or two in the postseason.
With Eddie Lacy gone, Ty Montgomery has emerged as the leading candidate for Green Bay’s primary running back. Although Montgomery isn’t a bad guy to fill in as a starter for a game or two, he’s not the guy you want consistently carrying the ball, especially late in the postseason. He has the tools to help this team once and a while, but Lynch is the guy you need to propel the Packers into the Super Bowl.
4 Stay Away: Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford would be overcome with happiness if he got the call saying that the Lions had signed Marshawn Lynch. Although it would be great seeing the retired back play on Thanksgiving, it’d be much more satisfying to see him playing in the postseason. Since Detroit has a very slim shot of making the playoffs, would prefer Lynch take his talents elsewhere. He’d just be wasting his time returning to professional football just to play with Detroit.
In a perfect world for Detroit, Ameer Abdullah returns from his season ending injury suffered last season and is able to play in all but a couple of regular season games this season. Although it isn’t likely, that can happen. But Abdullah is relatively unproven in the NFL and who knows if he can maintain any type of consistency throughout the entire season. The Lions could definitely use Lynch’s help, but he should stay away and play somewhere else.
3 Want: Oakland Raiders
Of all the possibilities on this list, this is seeming like the most likely scenario. The Oakland Raiders are his hometown team and it was reported that he met with the team and told them of his intentions to return to the NFL. Lynch was born in Oakland and played in college nearby at Cal. All of the reports also made it sound like Lynch wants to return to play for the Raiders, but we have yet to hear that from Lynch. His mom was even on Sirius radio discussing the possibility and said “You know, Marshawn and I don’t really discuss football,” she said. “But I could see a little glow.”
After losing Latavius Murray, Lynch would be a welcome sight in Oakland. Lynch will be 31 during the season but that shouldn’t scare Oakland away. Lynch was arguably the best running back in the league before he retired and after spending some time healing up, the Raiders should expect some great production out of the currently retired running back.
2 Stay Away: Dallas Cowboys
With any big name player you’ve got to consider the possibility that he goes to a big name team like the Dallas Cowboys. Owner Jerry Jones loves media attention and acquiring a guy like Marshawn Lynch would provide for a media field day throughout the entire season. He could classify it as a mentorship move for the young Ezekiel Elliott or he could say that the NFL is no longer a one running back league. Either way you classify it, this would be considered a great move. But not for Lynch.
Sure, the Cowboys are a playoff-bound team and will likely make a run at the Super Bowl. Sure, Elliott on the roster means that Lynch won’t get overworked. In fact, it would be the complete opposite. Soon after signing Lynch would begin to realize he was added to the team as some big ploy to get more media exposure for the team. He would be upset with the amount of carries he would get and would be calling for a trade or re-retiring by midseason.
1 Want: New England Patriots
Like a few other teams on this list, the Patriots will be in the postseason regardless of the guy running the ball for the team. The Patriots could possibly play without a running back and make a run at yet another Super Bowl. That’s the beauty of having a guy like Tom Brady run the offense. Now, just imagine if you implement Marshawn Lynch into that game plan. Imagine what Bill Belichick could do with that type of talent.
The Patriots need a star running back and Lynch needs a team destined for the playoffs. There’s no better fit for both sides of the equation. It’s a win-win situation. This should be a no brainer for Lynch. Once he makes the decision to return, he’ll be a perfect and welcomed fit in New England, and he’ll get major credit once this team returns to the Super Bowl.