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Oakland Raiders: Salary Cap Horror Stories

Are you guys getting sick of me talking about the Oakland Raiders salary cap situations yet? I imagine some of you are. It's not like I have had very positive things to say. It's just I see this cap rolling in like a ominous dark cloud and the hopes for the 2011 season are standing on the ground with metal helmets and giant antennas.

It started off as a low rumbling on the horizon. I ran the numbers and it didn't look good, but I wasn't going to get too worried. I am certainly no salary cap expert. But then others started chiming in, and they were also painting a bleak picture. The one hope for salary cap relief the Raiders seem to have is that the "dead" money may not be counted against the cap. But, in all honesty, this seems like a long shot. It has always been counted against the cap, and for the overwhelming majority of teams in 2011, it is not going to harm there cap situation. Jump over for the horror tales....

John Clayton was one of the first in the main stream media to release some cap numbers. And, I don't know about you, but I am typically going to take Clayton's word on these kinds of things. When it comes to player evaluations or predictions, I don't pay Clayton any mind, but when it comes to official transactions, injury reports, or salary cap things, Clayton is as reliable as they come.

Well, Mr. Clayton recently released some more thoughts on the issue. One thing I hadn't heard or thought about was that the cancellation of any preseason games would lead to a reduced cap number for 2011. The cap number is going to be figured out by a percentage of the total revenue the league will take in.

So, obviously, the Raiders want this lockout to not cost any preseason. Even if the preseason plays out in full, the salary cap is still going to be lower than it was in 2009. Clayton on ESPN:

Whatever the outcome of successful talks, the 2011 salary cap will be less than it was in 2009, when teams operated with $127 million of cap room.

Clayton pins the likely cap number between $117-125 million. Any of those numbers are not going to do the Raiders any favors. And if the "dead" money counts the Raiders will be over. Here is Clayton on the Raiders situation:

Depending on how much dead money is created by the voiding of Nnamdi Asomugha's contract, the Raiders are more than $10 million over the cap. They can save $2.1 million by cutting guard Cooper Carlisle, but they have only six players with salaries of more than $1 million that can be used to restructure contracts to free up cap room. Remember they gave extensions to defensive end Richard Seymour and defensive tackle John Henderson and made Kamerion Wimbley a franchise player.

And that description paints what is so worrisome—the Raiders have very little flexibility to lower their number. I have rested my hope on Al Davis being able to work his cap magic, but there is just very little for him to work with.

As we've discussed Kamerion Wimbley getting off of the franchise tag will be huge, but the amount they can save on Wimbley will likely instantly be eaten up by the signing of Zach Miller.

It is hard to see a way out of this. I am trying to avoid going doom and gloom. It is all just speculation at this point, but I like to be prepared for things that are going to suck. And there is the very real possibility this is going to suck. It is far from the end of the world. The Raiders have an excellently talented and young corp of players, but this certainly puts a bit of a damper on the 2011 season.