Marshawn Lynch is now one step closer to his seemingly inevitable return to the NFL. On Friday, the running back known as "Beast Mode" came to terms on a contract with the Oakland Raiders, the only team he claimed to be willing to come out of retirement for. There's still one pesky issue that is preventing the retired running back from suiting up in a black and silver uniform next season, however: the Seattle Seahawks still control his rights.

Back in the NFL

Rumors that Lynch could return from his retirement began to heat up last week, when he was spotted visiting the Oakland Raiders. He's a native of the Bay Area, so there was a hometown allure involved in returning to the NFL.

"Beast Mode" took to Twitter to clamp down on the rumors that he had agreed to a contract, but enough major networks are reporting it that it seems all but official.

Matters are complicated, however, by the fact that Lynch retired as a member of the Seattle Seahawks with time still left on his contract. This means that the NFC West team retains his contractual rights upon reentry into the NFL. Seattle is motivated to give him to the Raiders, but that will most likely have to come through a trade. It's unclear what Seattle would want in return for a player they know will never suit up for them again. Additionally, Seattle may be the more interesting partner in the deal, since there are also rumors that they are ready to deal away cornerback Richard Sherman.

Potential impact

There's certainly a buzz surrounding the arrival of a hometown hero in Oakland, a community that desperately needs some sports relief right now. The fans are incredibly disappointed that the team has made a move to Las Vegas official, but are remaining in Oakland for the next couple of years.

Lynch will bring some of the fans back to their seats with his brand of humor and unassuming hubris, but it certainly won't mend all feelings.

It's unclear what he'll actually be able to bring on the field, though. Lynch is past the age where running backs generally cease to be productive in the NFL and he has a year of rust he'll have to shake off.

Additionally, the Raiders clearly want to be a pass-first team, as quarterback Derek Carr emerged as a legitimate franchise quarterback last season. The team let Latavius Murray walk in free agency and likely not because they thought "Beast Mode" would fall into their laps. All of these questions will need to be answered in the coming months.

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