The Raiders have been spending like mad in free agency thus far. They had a record $66 million in cap room and a lot of holes to fill. That number is considerably lower now but they still have a long way to go.
The Raiders currently sit at an estimated $26.4 million under the cap before knowing the details of the reported Charles Woodson deal. That is way down from the $66 million they had to begin free agency but it is still currently among the top five in the NFL.
There are still positions left to fill on this team and there is the rookie pool to consider as well. But what could be even more important in all of this is the salary cap floor.
The salary cap floor in a nutshell says the team must spend an average of 89% of the salary cap money over a four-year timespan. That timespan began last year when the Raiders only used 72% of the $120.6 million cap figure due in large part to having a league high $56 million in dead money - which doesn't count toward the cap floor figure. This puts a lot of pressure on the Raiders this year to spend, spend, spend.
For the next three seasons in order to stay above that 89% floor, they must spend an average of about 95% of the salary cap. That 5% this year adds up to less than $7 million. And with the $9.3 million in dead money they currently have, that pretty much means the Raiders need to spend every penny they possibly can to try and keep from being in a similar bind next year.
That task, while exciting for fans who get to watch them throw money around, gets increasingly difficult as most all of the big name free agents have been signed and therefore few big contracts are still to be handed out.
The rookie pool for the Raiders' 2014 draft picks is expected to be $3.88 million against the cap according to Overthecap.com. Until we know the exact details of Charles Woodson's deal, let's figure it's similar to last season and say $1.5 million. This leaves about $21 million for the Raiders to make it rain.
That money burning a hole in Reggie McKenzie's pocket could be spent in any number of ways (Raiderettes perhaps?). It could be why he has inquired about a few trades such as Matt Schaub and DeSean Jackson who each carry about $11 million against the cap this year.
There figures to be a few more cap casualties from other teams come June 1st as well who would be worthy recipients of that money. Regardless of when it happens, there will be plenty more players signed so stay tuned.
On a more personal note, I can't begin to tell you how strange it is to see the Raiders in this position. Going from the ‘Cap Hell' the Raiders found themselves in seemingly every off-season in which they had a negative balance and had to restructure deals and push money forward to now having essentially more money than they can spend. Just weird.
The elephant in the room here is how in the world they still managed to lose all their own top free agents. Even weirder.