The big question for the Raiders as the NFL lockout rapidly approaches its death (knocking on wood) is what will the 2011 salary cap going to look like? It is a big question because the Raiders are likely going to be over it, and there doesn't appear to be a ton of wiggle room on the roster. If you missed it, you can check out more on the woes here.
Well it appears they may have reached a handshake deal on the salary cap figure, and it is not good for the Raiders. Sources told ESPN's John Clayton that the 2011 salary cap is tentatively set at $120 million.
There is one conflicting report regarding this number—brhynno pointed it out in the comments, but I can't find much on this report, which makes me skeptical. This is all I have found:
NFL Network's Jason LaCanfora has the cap at close to $123 million with exceptions that will make it "feel" like $130 million.
I want to believe this second one, but I am not hopeful. It does appear that their may be some exceptions. However, it seems a little modest. I had hoped this number would be larger given that teams have to adjust coming off of an uncapped year, but I'll take what I can get.
Per ESPN, the exception may come in the form of a one player exemption for $3 million. The parameters of this are still vague, and they explain it as:
The exemption transition would be similar to the minimum salary benefit that allows teams to sign a veteran player to a one-year contract at a greatly reduced cap number. Full details of that option weren't immediately announced.
I took it to mean that teams at the salary cap could still add a player to a contract for as much as $3 million, but I am confused by the wording of the greatly reduced salary cap number. Whatever the case, it will allow the Raiders to sign one more player than they would have otherwise been able to.
If the cap is indeed at $120 million, dead money is going to be huge for the Raiders. Will it count? Will only some of it count? There is no mention of this. And since it has always been counted before, I take that as a bad sign.
If everything keeps progressing as it is now, than we will have definite answers for these questions soon.