The release of Tommy Kelly has been expected all off-season due to his 2013 salary cap hit of over $11 million. He leaves $6.3 million in dead money which gives the team almost $5 million in salary cap savings.
The Raiders now sit at nearly $11 million under the 2013 salary cap.
UPDATE: The figures I received were incorrect. The Raiders actually sit at $7.6 million under the salary cap.
Kelly had become one of the highest paid defensive tackles in football when he was given a 7-year, $50 million contract back in 2008. He was in the final year of that contract. With his $11 million cap hit, Kelly has expected this move to come for quite some time. He was resigned to the distinct possibility at the end of last season and said so plainly early this month.
"The writing is on the wall," Kelly told the San Francisco Chronicle. "The team is going in another direction. I'm ready for the next chapter. ... They're ready, too."
Kelly becomes one of the final formerly worked "out of whack" contracts cleared from the books since McKenzie took over. The others to be let go this off-season were Michael Huff, Richard Seymour, and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Aside from his contract numbers, the 32-year old defensive tackle saw his performance decline last season. He had just 1.5 sacks last season after posting 14.5 sacks in the previous two seasons. His tackle numbers have also gone down the past two seasons.
Even so, the Raiders would liked to have kept him around. But his contract made that impossible. His late cut suggests the team had attempted to keep him with a reduced contract. The team bid the longtime Raider farewell on Twitter.
The Raiders today have released Tommy Kelly. The club appreciates his service, dedication and toughness.— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) March 27, 2013
Tommy Kelly joined the Raiders in 2004 as an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi State. He has spent his entire 9-year NFL career with the Raiders and has been a fulltime starter at defensive tackle and defensive end since his second year in the league.