Tuesday at 9am Pacific time, the free agent negotiating period begins. Officially free agency doesn’t begin until 1pm Thursday, but that’s a formality at this point. The deals between teams as free agents are made in the 52 hours before the start of free agency. At that point, the players are mostly just waiting with pen in hand to put the ink to paper.
Currently the two primary cap calculating sites have close to the same figures, which put the Raiders as having about $44 million. Last week they were $5 million apart in their figures, so this is reassuring.
On one hand, you should figure to knock a sizable chunk off of that available cap spending figure for the expected Derek Carr extension. The exact number of that won’t be as simple as predicting what he’ll receive (should be around $25 million per season) and subtracting it. First of all, that base salary won’t kick in until 2018. Second of all, the actual cap hit depends on how the contract is structured in terms of signing bonus, roster bonus, and the like.
Also figuring into the total will be whatever cuts the team decides to make. For instance, releasing Dan Williams and Austin Howard would save an additional $8 million. Either way, there will be money left over to make probably a couple nice free agent additions and a couple lower tier ones as well.
Even at 12-4, the Raiders have plenty of needs. Many of which come on the defensive side of the ball, including defensive tackle, defensive end, middle linebacker, cornerback, and perhaps safety as well. On offense there’s running back, offensive tackle, wide receiver, and tight end.
The Raiders have a few free agents of their own who could be testing the market including Jon Condo, Latavius Murray, Menelik Watson, Malcolm Smith, Perry Riley Jr, Andre Holmes, Nate Allen, Brynden Trawick, Daren Bates, Stacy McGee, Mychal Rivera, Matt McGloin, and DJ Hayden. Denico Autry is a Restricted Free Agent and I expect the Raiders to put a tender on him to keep him with the team.
You can read more about the Raiders’ Free Agent re-sign priorities here.
Here are the 27 players at various positions detailed in the Raiders Free Agency wish list series who would make for a good fit with the Raiders and therefore are names to watch once the negotiating period begins.
1. Dont’a Hightower, LB, 27
3. Brandon Williams, DT, 28
4. Ricky Wagner, OT, 27 — Reportedly signing with Lions
5. AJ Bouye, CB, 26 — Reportedly nearing deal with Jaguars
6. Dontari Poe, DT, 27
7. Martellus Bennett, TE, 30
8. Adrian Peterson, RB, 31
9. Tony Jefferson, S, 25 — Reportedly signing with Ravens
10. Chris Baker, DE, 29 — Reportedly signing with Buccaneers
11. Zach Brown, LB, 27
12. Logan Ryan, CB, 26
13. Stephon Gilmore, CB, 26 — Reportedly signing with Patriots
14. Eddie Lacy, RB, 26
15. Kenny Britt, WR, 28 -- Reportedly signing with Browns
16. Riley Reiff, OT, 28
17. LeGarrette Blount, RB, 30
18. Kendall Wright, WR, 27
19. Victor Cruz, WR, 30
20. Kelvin Beachum, OT, 27
21. Johnathan Hankins, DT, 25
22. Jared Odrick, DE, 29
23. Lawrence Timmons, LB, 30
24. Captain Munnerlyn, CB, 29
25. Barry Church, S, 29 — Reportedly signing with Jaguars
26. TJ McDonald, S, 26
27. Kevin Minter, LB, 26
With free agency officially begun, continue to follow the signings here.