Thus far, not many people can agree on exactly how much money the Raiders have available under the 2012 salary cap now that Tyvon Branch has a new deal. The most recent report from CSN Bay Area has the Raiders at $5.1 million under the cap. There is no official word on Branch's 2012 salary, the report sites "league sources."
After the Branch deal became public, the early details were that it was a 4-year $26.6 million deal with incentives that top out at $28 million and $17.6 million guaranteed. This included a $5.6 million signing bonus. The details, according to Scout.com, were that $16.1 million paid out in the first two years of the contract.
Reports collected by Rotoworld had the Raiders' available money prior to the Branch deal at less than $1 million. CSN had the figure at $1.34 million under the salary cap. The reported source to CSN has Branch's cap figure at $2.4 for the 2012 season and has it jumping to $10.9 for 2013.
I ran some numbers immediately following the contract details and I too came up with a figure of $2.4 million. But that was Branch's base salary and doesn't include the $1.4 million cap hit from the prorated signing bonus. From the sounds of it, CSN's source either got its figure without factoring in the signing bonus or they are saying Branch's base salary in 2012 is just $1 million plus the $1.4 million prorated signing bonus money.
The numbers work out to the $16.1 as originally reported, however, the $10.9 cap hit for Branch in 2013 doesn't jibe with McKenzie's prior statements about putting the Raiders in "cap jail" in the future. Of course, desperate times call for desperate measures and if he was more concerned about getting Branch's 2012 cap figure down, he may have had to sacrifice a bit of his cap money next year to do it.
The two discrepancies in the available salary lies in the some $400k difference in CSN's reported money available prior to Branch's deal and that of Rotoworld‘s figures as well as the $1.4 million prorated signing bonus money which may have been left out of the CSN source figures. It is a difference of $1.8 million in cap room in 2012. The difference in pay would also take Branch's 2013 cap hit from CSN's figure of $10.9 million, down to a slightly more reasonable $9.5 million.
Until official contract details are released, all we can say for sure is the Raiders have between $3.3 and $5.1 million available to spend. The Raiders are not making their cap number public.
The team still has yet to sign two of its rookies, third round pick Tony Bergstrom and fifth round pick Juron Criner. But keep in mind, only the top 51 salaries count against the cap. This means Criner's pay will not factor into it and it's possible neither will Bergstrom's.
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