After the spending spree last offseason to keep the likes of Michael Huff, Kamerion Wimbley, and Stanford Routt happy members of the Silver and Black, the clock began to tick on salary cap doomsday. And as of about a month ago, that cap over shot was thought to be at around $11 million. Now it appears that figure was a gross underestimation. Nay, a disgusting underestimation.
Reports are now coming out that the Raiders cap overshot is actually more like $22 million-twice the original figure. Even at the original $11 million estimation, the Raiders had a lot of work to do. With this new figure, they go from pruning and trimming to slash and burn.
The projected salary cap figure remains the same as first thought. It stands at around $120 million. It is the release of the actual team cap numbers that has changed things. The Raiders salary against the cap next season is at just over $145 million. And with the $3.23 million that the team is allowed to roll over to next season's cap, according to Pro Football Talk, that is where we get the $22 million figure of which the Raiders must hack off.
That will not happen without some major restructuring along with some significant casualties as well.
Typically, every offseason begins as salary cap mayhem for the Raiders and yet it always seems to work itself out without too many major cuts and with the team somehow still able to be a player in free agency. But they aren't usually in this deep.
Last offseason the free agent losses all seemed to be by choice. Nnamdi Asomugha has said several times that he gave the Raiders every opportunity to chime in and bid to keep him and they never did. He ended up heading to Philadelphia for a much lower figure than he had been paid in previous seasons in Oakland. He is making around $11 million per season with the Eagles all while the Raiders decided to give that kind of money to the likes of Wimbley, Routt, and Huff instead.
Robert Gallery and Zach Miller left for the Seahawks and big contracts. Gallery and the Raiders had a very mutual separation. In the case of Miller, he too gave the Raiders every opportunity to keep him. He was eventually signed by the Seahawks for around $6 million per season while the Raiders opted to sign Kevin Boss at around $4 million per. Again, the Raiders chose to go that route.
Many of the players who are cut or allowed to leave this offseason, the Raiders would like to keep-although not quite at their exorbitant salaries. But they have no choice but to insist they restructure and/or take a pay cut. If the player does not agree, they will have to let them go.
One such player is Kamerion Wimbley who has made it clear he will not take a pay cut. The nearly $12 million cap hit he carries next season is absolutely not going to stand. He and Huff are due roster bonuses on March 16 and 17 respectively that add up to around $10 million. The Raiders need to be under the projected $120 million salary cap by the start of the new league year which is March 13.
Richard Seymour carries the biggest cap hit by any Raider player at just over $14 million. But he said he would be very open to a restructure with an extension.
The worst news is the dead money that Stanford Routt's contract leaves the Raiders this season. He was cut, which saved the team $5 million in actual money, but his cap hit is the fourth largest figure on the team at over $10 million. There is obviously nothing the Raiders can do about that. And to think, many thought he was dead weight before?
Paul Gutierrez at CSN Bay Area reported many new figures which had been lower in previous estimations. Here is the updated list of the Raiders top salary cap hits:
DT Richard Seymour $14,068,000
QB Carson Palmer $12,500,000
LB Kamerion Wimbley $11,850,000
CB Stanford Routt $10,785,334
FS Michael Huff $9,828,750
RB Darren McFadden $9,478,833
DT Tommy Kelly $8,874,266
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey $8,159,000
LB Aaron Curry $5,757,500
P Shane Lechler $4,900,000
TE Kevin Boss $4,750,000
DT John Henderson $4,750,000
PK Sebastian Janikowski $4,500,000
CB Chris Johnson $4,500,000
LB Rolando McClain $3,640,000
OG Cooper Carlisle $3,300,000
FS Hiram Eugene $2,500,000
DE Lamarr Houston $1,116,250
SS Mike Mitchell $965,500
On top of dealing with these salaries, the team must make room to re-sign free agents such as Tyvon Branch, Samson Satele, and Trevor Scott. Michael Bush would be nice but it seems a foregone conclusion that the team will be unable to re-sign him and keep him off the open market.
Then after all that, they would actually like to have a little left over to pursue a free agent or two. As interesting as this is already, it's about to get much more interesting.