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Beast Mode moves one step closer to Oakland as Marshawn Lynch, Raiders reportedly agree on terms

Beast Mode, activate. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Marshawn Lynch and the Oakland Raiders reportedly agreed to terms that would bring the former Seattle Seahawks star out of retirement, according to NFL Network reporter Michael Silver. The deal’s not yet done, however, as the Raiders have to get Seattle to agree to terms on its compensation.

The deal comes after weeks of speculation that Lynch would be returning to the NFL after a one-year retirement, but things really began rolling on Thursday.

Lynch’s rights still belong to the Seattle Seahawks, for whom he played the final five-plus seasons of his career, but all signs have been pointing to him signing with someone else, either after the Seahawks would agree to release him or, as it looks like now, after they work out a trade with another team.

Seattle was not expected to block Lynch’s attempts at playing elsewhere, especially after last week when Lynch met with Oakland Raiders officials at the team’s facility. His hometown team — Lynch grew up in Oakland and played college football at Cal-Berkeley — has been the front-runner for his services, as the Raiders are in the market for a running back after 2016 leading rusher Latavius Murray signed a free agent deal with the Minnesota Vikings.

Lynch turns 31 next week. He will count $9 million toward Seattle’s salary cap upon his official return, filling up most the Seahawks’ current cap space. The team will look to clear that money off its books soon after his return is finalized so it can sign the players it selects in the draft later this month.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport was one of the first to report the Seahawks had deal with the Raiders in the works on Thursday.

Rap Sheet adds that Lynch wouldn’t even have to go through the trouble of filing his paperwork if he’s traded, as the league would consider that an official indication that he’s ready to return.

As for the Sherman portion of Werder’s tweet, Seahawks General Manager John Schneider admitted last week that Seattle is listening to trade offers for the veteran defensive back. There reportedly is mutual interest between Sherman and the New England Patriots, especially if they trade away defensive back Malcolm Butler before he becomes an unrestricted free agent after the 2017 season. Whether the Seahawks will pair Sherman with Lynch in their trade talks is unclear, and there’s no official indication that the Raiders will take both.

Werder added on Twitter that Lynch held off on signing his paperwork to return because he wanted to see if Sherman was going to be traded, and whether the possible trade partners also needed a running back.

It may or may not have been related to getting to play in Oakland, or to the NFL at all, but on Thursday evening, Lynch posted a tweet that was as demonstrative in its excitement as it was cryptic in its meaning. Former Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, now an ESPN analyst, replied on Twitter with, “Welcome back, kid!”

For those Seahawks fans hoping that Hasselbeck’s tweet was meant to welcome Lynch back to that team, Seattle Times reporter Bob Condotta threw cold water on that scenario, writing, “There has been no thought that Lynch would look to return to Seattle.” He added, “It’s been expected that once Lynch and the Raiders work out a contract that a trade could happen quickly.”

Drafted 12th overall in 2007 by the Bills, Lynch spent three full season in Buffalo before being traded to Seattle in October 2010 for fourth- and fifth-round picks. Lynch came into his own with the Seahawks, rushing for at least 1,200 yards each season between 2011 and 2014, and leading the NFL in rushing touchdowns in 2013 and 2014.

After an injury-plagued 2015 season, Lynch used another cryptic tweet, one posted during Super Bowl 50, to signal his retirement. He spent some of his newfound leisure time to travel to places such as Egypt, Haiti and Scotland, and more recently, he was among several current or former NFL players who participated in an arm-wrestling competition in Las Vegas.