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Offseason analysis, not a mock

Because a mock, at this point, is just plain whistling in the dark. Before any kind of mock can be even guessed at, what has to be done is to look at the roster and all of the free agents addressed. Believe me, that is what is happening right now in the Raiders' offices; they are looking at who they want to keep, how much they want to spend, and where that will leave them in terms of the draft and free agents from other teams.

So, first let's look at the salary cap situation, and what might happen next year: the Raiders currently have the highest payroll in the NFL, at about $152 million. Obviously there is not a cap for next year yet (or even a CBA), but let's assume that there will not be another uncapped year, and that the cap expands similarly to how it has in the past and is set at around $145 million. It would seem as if we are already over the cap, but we have a number of players that are going to become free agents (as many as 33), and the value of those contracts are going to come off the payroll, and the cap. As I figure it, those come to a total of about $47 million, which means that the payroll, for salary cap purposes, is about $105 million, but some of those free agents will be coming back. Here is the list of FA's, and their current cap cost (with some estimates when I couldn't find their contract info):

Nnamdi Asomugha, $12.0m

Khalif Barnes, $1.2m

Michael Bennett, $1.5m

Kyle Boller, $1.5m

Michael Bush, $467k, possible RFA

Ricky Brown, $1.5m

Desmond Bryant, $450k

Rock Cartwright, $950k

Jon Condo, $541k

Bruce Davis, $800k

Hiram Eugene, $467k

Charlie Frye, $625k

Robert Gallery, $6.0m

Bruce Gradkowski, $540k, RFA

John Henderson, $4.4m

Mario Henderson, $467k

Johnnie Lee Higgins, $467k

Thomas Howard, $541k

Michael Huff, $950k

Daniel Loper, $1.15m

Nick Miller, $315k, ERFA

Zach Miller, $467, possible RFA

Jarvis Moss, $300k (est)

J.T. O'Sullivan, $250k (est)

Marcel Reece, $320k, RFA

Stanford Routt, $621k

Samson Satele, $465k

Richard Seymour, $3.8m

Sam Williams, $625k

Langston Walker, $1.2m

Kamerion Wimbley, $685k

Now, as I said before, some of these guys won't be back, and some will. There is no way that I can truly say what will happen, but here is a combination of what I would like and what I think the Raiders will do, and some projected cap numbers (remember that cap numbers aren't the same as salary, but what a player counts against the cap, between bonus and salary):

Asomugha - I really don't think that the Raiders can afford to bring him back, although I'd love to see that. My guess is that he will walk, and Al will get a 3rd round compensatory pick. I'd rather have seen him under contract and traded, but...

Barnes - gone

Bennett - gone

Boller - brought back to fight for the back up QB spot; $950k

Bush - kept because he has shown how effective he can be, especially when/if McFadden gets hurt; $1.2m

Brown - kept as insurance, although I don't really see the need to do so; $1.1m

Bryant - becoming a bigger part of the DT rotation, brought back; $450k

Cartwright - brought back, a sparkplug on ST and may move up the depth chart; $900k

Condo - lock to return, IMO; $650k

Davis - may return in place of Brown, at about $800k, otherwise gone

Eugene - gone

Frye - gone

Gallery - I'm thinking that an effort will be made to bring him back, but I also think that he may follow Cable, as he has had more success in the ZBS than in power schemes, at least in part because he was miscast as a LT, and had no support. Still, another compensatory pick, IMO...

Gradkowski - probably brought back, but there is a chance that he will be allowed to walk because of his injury history. I think he'll stay; $650k

J. Henderson - brought back, but at a lower cost, as he is not going to be in the rotation as much as last year; $3.1m

M. Henderson - I see him being brought back to try to play or back up at RT, despite not showing the desire to keep a previous starting spot; $650k

Higgins - gone

Howard - gone

Huff - gone

Loper - brought back, especially in the case that Gallery leaves, as he has shown the ability to be a solid, dependable player; $1.2m

N. Miller - gone

Z. MIller - re-signed, with a healthy raise and bonus; $3.5m

Moss - I'm thinking that they will keep him as insurance, and see how he plays in the preseason; ; $300k

O'Sullivan - gone

Reece - interesting choice, especially with LeRon McClain, rolando's cousin, hitting the free agent market, but I think he stays; $400k

Routt - if Aso does indeed leave, then Routt becomes a 'have to have' player, nobody wants two rookies or new guys to be your starting CB's. Brought back with a raise and fat bonus; $3.5m

Satele - it appears that the team is going to more of a power offense, and Satele just doesn't fit very well in that; gone

Seymour - if he leaves, then the trade for him was a waste, so I don't see it happening; $4.2m

Williams - gone, I hope

Walker - I see him being brought back, as a potential starter at RT but in hopes that he will be a backup G; $1.2m

Wimbley - brought back; $1.2m

These numbers would bring the salary cap payroll up to about $131 million, leaving (if the cap is set at about $145m) about $14 million dollars to spend on the draft and FA. Now, if Al is starting to pay attention again, then he should be noticing that some of the best teams have the most cap flexibilty, becaue they build through the draft, not free agency. I hope that is the case, and that we do not go hog wild this offseason chasing other team's players. I would target Mankins if he becomes available, as it wouldn't skew the numbers that much, and he is one of the best OL in the league. If not, then targeting players like Richie Incognito and Zac Diles, guys that won't destroy cap space, while providing solid play makes more sense as the team hopefully continues to draft well.

As I see it, the positions most needed to be addressed in draft/free agency: OL, DB (especially if Asomugha leaves), OLB, WR (although I don't think that Al sees it that way). Certainly we can use players elsewhere, but these are what I see as the weakest areas.

Thoughts?

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