I just posted the following assessment of the salary cap outlook for the teams of the AFC West, but I felt it was interesting enough for its own post. For all the talk I've given to the Raiders being in a bad salary cap spot, that is about par for the course in the AFC West. Take a look at the numbers, as found on ESPN, if you haven't already.
Salary-cap range: $770,000 under.
Summary: The Broncos have work to do in free agency, so they will have to rework some contracts of some older players including safety Brian Dawkins. Trading quarterback Kyle Orton would also help.
Salary-cap range:$34.3 million under.
Summary: The Chiefs are in fine shape as usual. They can do some spending and there are some areas which they need to focus on. So, this team can get better.
Salary-cap range:$11.7 million over.
Summary: The Raiders will likely have to cut some veterans including guard Cooper Carlisle and restructure the deals of some players.
Salary-cap range: $19.4 under.
Summary: The Chargers have a lot of free agents to re-sign and they have the means to do it. As usual, free agency in San Diego will start with keeping their targeted in-house players first.
The only team in good shape here is the Chiefs. I am going to contend that the Raiders are in the next best position, but only by default. Jump over for the why....
The Chargers have plenty of room, but they have a lot of players to sign. That cap room will instantly be eaten up by re-signing Eric Weddle, Vincent Jackson and five rookies that were taken in the first three rounds. That is a lot to get done in a short time. They very well may lose Weddle, and they are going to have a lot of negotiating to do while after the three day exclusive signing period is over. They are in a very fragile position.
As for Denver, my goodness, they have some work to do. The task ahead of them is daunting. They need two defensive tackles and a running back. They are likely going to try and trade Kyle Orton, and they are going to have big money going to their high profile rookies. Oh, and they are adjusting to a new system. I cannot begin to tell you how great it is that the Raiders get the Broncos in Week One.
As for the Raiders, this is where the pre lockout spending spree is going to pay off. They will have less to do. Yes, they are over the cap, but they likely have their plan in place to get under the cap. They have already prepared for the possibility that Huff, Gallery, and Asomugha are leaving, and they are going to have the easiest time signing their rookies.
There salary cap position is far from enviable. This report hasn't changed my opinion on that, but it did help me realize that at least they aren't the Chargers and Broncos.