I wanted to set the record straight regarding the Raiders Salary Cap in 2008, as apparently most of the Raider Nation is confused as to where the Raiders stand. ESPN reports anything negative they can about the Raiders, including the fact that the Raiders are 19 million over the cap! (Thanks John Clayton!) Well folks, it simply isn't so!
I have scoured the internet, and have found some sources stating that the Raiders are over the Cap, while others state the Raiders are under. Lets take a look at two of these listings, and let the members of The Nation decide for themselves.
PFT has a listing of adjusted Cap numbers for all 32 NFL teams as of March 16th. Now concidering the rediculous Raider rumor mongers employed by PFT, I tend to look at anything on the site with a highly skeptical eye. Nevertheless, they have Al Davis shelling out 121,070,000 smackers. Thats 5,070,000 over the cap.
Nancy "Uber Rumor Monger" Gay reported that the Raiders are actually 4.6 mil UNDER the Cap. However, this number is clouded by the fact that only the top 51 player salaries in the off-season count toward the cap limit. During the regular season, all contracts count toward the cap. So in fact, the Raiders, if counting all players under contract, could indeed be over the Cap.
There are some things we should keep in mind when trying to discern the Raiders Salary Cap situation. One, the Raiders reportedly restructured the deal of quarterback JaMarcus Russell in a way that lowers his base salary each of the next four seasons in exchange for activating a $19.905 million option bonus.
This move should bring down the Raiders Cap tremendously. Subtract further the Cap savings from the probable long term contract for Nnamdi Asomugha, and the Raiders should then be under the Cap. Thats just two of many moves to be played out before the season starts.
For example, Lamont Jordan will be traded, or cut. With the Arrival of Hall, it appears Fabian could be out the door. The Big Terd, Terdell Sands, could also be cut if he does not show some serious improvement in Camp, or his contract could be restructured. Gerrard Warren could be traded, or restructured, as he will likely back up Kelly, and is making a crap load of money.
In my opinion, who gets cut will depend largely upon whom the Raiders pick at #4. If the Raiders luck out and get C. Long, settle for Gholston, or Al does what Al does and takes McFadden, then the Cuts/Trades at DT may not extend beyond one player. If McFadden is taken, then Lamont will not be the only back leaving Oakland(Paging Dominic Rhodes!). If the Raiders draft DT, a move I am highly skeptical of due to the load of money already invested in the position, then expect the cuts/trades at DT to get nasty. Sands, Warren, Joseph; SEE YA!
So basically Raider Nation, Al Davis will work it out. Al has money due to recently dealing an ownership stake in the Raiders. He is using that money, 150-160 mil, to acquire talent that he feels the team desperately needs. He is alleviating cap problems by giving huge signing bonuses, and restructuring contracts using the money he got from the ownership stake he sold.
As a result, the Raiders, and Al Davis are risking a lot on these players. Al is essentially giving some of these players, like Hall, a large portion of the money up front, trusting that they'll play hard and be good Raiders throughout the life of their contracts. With others, Al is back-loading the contracts in an attempt to soften the financial load now, and reduce the financial risk of injuries to injury prone players. Al can possibly restructure, ala Rhodes, or cut the players contracts down the line a couple years from now if they don't work out.
As a die hard fan, I hope and pray, and buy into the fact (as any true member of Raider Nation has the right!), that Al will be correct, and these moves will pan out. The Cap will be manageable, and the Raiders don't appear handcuffed, in that they still appear to have a little leeway to sign a key piece down the line.
As a result of this possible cap leeway, there are still two FAs that could really help the Raiders, and might not cost that much. These two players would also answer two needs that many here believe to be important, myself included.
Roosevelt Colvin -- OLB/DE
I know, I know, he's a hated former Patriot, but Al dealt with the Donkeys last season for Warren, so anything is possible. I know, I know, he has played mainly as a 3/4 LB/DE, but he is experienced enough, and has the size to excel at a strictly SLB role in the 4/3. The Raiders already have two standout LBs, and Roosevelt's only job would be to crash the backfield, and create havoc. Run or Pass, hes coming to get some, especially with the awesome DB coverage behind him.
Grady Jackson -- DT
If Grady can come back and re-harness some of that ability at NT, the Raiders would be in great shape. Hell, I would bring him in, have him compete with Sands and Joseph at NT, and then cut the odd man out. Competition never hurt anybody, and I would not mind seeing Grady Jackson as a Raider for one last run, if affordable, that is.
I hope all this was informative! I know it was long, so give yourself a pat on the back as you are now likely more Raider Salary Cap educated then the next Raider fan!
Spread the Word, Al's Mandate is McFadden!