The Oakland Raiders have been expected to cut starting defensive tackle Tommy Kelly for week now. Speculation of his departure began as soon as the season ended and momentum gained as time passed. As the new league year began and free agency opened, the Raiders cut Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Huff and Dave Tollefson, but curiously left both Kelly and disgruntled middle linebacker Rolando McClain on the roster.
Now it finally appears as though the Raiders are ready to take the leap and cut Kelly's fat... contract. Kelly would have counted for over $11 million against the cap and had a $6.5 million dollar base salary.
The Raiders have signed six players in free agency, including two defensive tackles, but neither are considered starting caliber players. Cutting Kelly saves cap space, but unless McKenzie is willing to go with the defensive tackles he already has, it also creates another hole to fill.
Kelly had a few very good years for the Raiders but he never lived up to the expectations of the big contracts that Al Davis gave him. Kelly's best years came when he played alongside Richard Seymour. Many credit Kelly's reduction in weight and increase in production on the field to Seymour's influence. With Seymour also leaving the team this year, it seems fitting that Kelly's time with the Silver and Black also come to an end.