As painful as this offseason has been to watch, I think there are some very encouraging signs for next year. As of right now, we still have all our draft picks so we'll finally have a reason to watch the entire draft and not just turn on the TV late Saturday.
Our cap situation won't be nearly as bad next year. Assuming a 2014 cap of $126M we should have $42M in cap room plus any carryover from 2013 (could be up to $5M depending upon the deals cut after June 1st). Unfortunately that is with only 38 players under contract, many of whom probably won't even make the 2013 roster. So while it seems like a ton of cap room, it will quickly disappear as we fill out the 53-man roster.
We should even pick up additional draft picks because of UFA departures. Desmond Bryant ($6.8M avg), Philip Wheeler ($5.2M), Mike Goodson ($2.3M), Brandon Myers ($2.25M) and Matt Shaughnessy ($1.00M) were all UFA’s signed by other clubs. Shane Lechler is likely to land a healthy contract as well at some point with a value of approx. $3M. These deals would be offset by the Raiders’ UFA signings including Nick Roach ($3.25M), Vance Walker ($2M), Kaluka Maiava ($2M) and Pat Sims ($1.5M). If things stay as-is, we would get a 4th round comp pick only for Bryant. If Lechler signs elsewhere we could a 4th or 5th round pick for Wheeler. Hopefully management keeps this in mind and doesn’t sign another UFA (cut players are OK since they don’t count against the comp pick formula). San Diego didn’t get a 3rd round pick for the Vincent Jackson because it signed a host of other free agents.
There will be some new holes to fill, namely at RB since Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece will both be free agents. Starters OT Jared Veldheer and DE Lamarr Houston will also be free agents. Somehow the depth as well as the top talent of this team needs to be restored but it won’t happen in 2013. Here’s hoping 2014 is one major step closer!