The sputtering Marshawn Lynch unretirement has yet to become finalized, for reasons neither known nor apparent. Three weeks ago, when his return to football as a member of the Raiders seemed imminent, the situation quickly fell silent. Earlier this week, after the Raiders received permission to meet with Lynch and the Seahawks suggested that the separation of Lynch from the reserve/retired list will go smoothly, things quickly became quiet again.

If the Seahawks aren’t trying to get the Raiders to surrender a draft pick for Lynch, why hasn’t Lynch officially returned?

For starters, the offseason program doesn’t begin for another nine days, so there’s still time to get this resolved in time for Lynch to join his teammates at the outset of the lifting and conditioning sessions. Then there’s Lynch’s predictable unpredictability, which routinely prompts him to do the opposite of whatever he’s expected to do.

But what about the basic reality that Lynch has leverage? His current contract with the Seahawks would pay him $9 million in 2017. While the running back market suggests that the Raiders should pay a lot less than that, Lynch will be much more than a running back.

He’ll be an elixir that makes fans in Oakland not focus on the not-too-distant future and instead the 2017 Raiders. With Marshawn in silver and black, who cares about 2020 or 2019 or even 2018, any of which could become the first year of the team’s second non-Oakland stint?