(NEWS CENTER) — More likely than not it's a bargaining tactic, but that won't stop Patriots fans from imagining a five-time Pro Bowler joining their defending Super Bowl championship team's already star-studded backfield.

According to a report from NBC Sports via the Boston Herald, former Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has privately expressed interest in joining the Patriots.

It appears to be a move to levy pressure on the Oakland Raiders, who have been at the top of likely destinations for "Beast Mode" since he began hinting at a return to the league. Lynch retired in 2016 in an announcement on Twitter, one year after Seattle's tough loss to New England in Super Bowl XLIX.

Lynch's arrival in Oakland would be both a celebration and a brief homecoming — he's a native of the city and an alumnus of the nearby University of California, Berkeley, and the team is in the market for a new running back as well as a franchise player to ease its transition to Las Vegas.

An interest in New England could mean that Lynch is willing to go elsewhere if he doesn't get what he wants from the Raiders. (And c'mon, why wouldn't the team that seems primed for Lombardi No. 6 be in the discussion?)

Still no decision from free-agent running back LeGarrette Blount on whether he takes what's on the table, and the Patriots aren't wasting time. On top of the reported interest from Lynch, NBC Sports reports that former Vikings free-agent running back Adrian Peterson has recently worked out with the team.