Raiders made three cuts today and they were not altogether expected. One of them was downright shocking. They have announced the release of Darrius Heyward-Bey, Dave Tollefson and Michael Huff.
The most shocking of the cuts was that of Michael Huff. He had a big salary but he was considered a big part of the Raiders defense after switching from free safety to cornerback last season. He was set to be a $11.3 million cap hit for the Raiders. The team likely could not find a logical way to restructure his deal without a pay cut so they cleared the books of his contract.
Heyward-Bey never lived up to his having been picks seventh overall in the 2009 draft. He had one decent season in 2011 in which he had 65 catches for 975 yards. But he hasn't come close to that in any of his other seasons in the NFL. The team didn't restructure his contract last offseason because it would have meant an extension. They wanted to see if he could duplicate or improve on his 2011 season. He couldn't, and his $10 million cap hit was too much to take on.As part of the new CBA, teams are allowed to cut as many as two players with the June 1st designation which splits their cap hit over two seasons. That means the cutting of McClain and Kelly frees up $9.2 million under the cap for the Raiders which brings them to a total of $17.7 million to spend in free agency.
Dave Tollefson was signed last offseason to play defensive end. He couldn't crack the lineup and it was rather expected the team would cut ties with him.
With the new CBA, teams are allowed to split the cap hits of 2 players over two seasons prior to June 1st. That means the Raiders $14.5 million is cap space with these three moves. This brings them to $23 million under the cap as of now.