It’s that time of year when the team takes a long look at the players they are paying and decides whether they are better off moving on without them. Last season, there were only a couple fairly obvious cuts. This year there are more candidates, but with somewhat less certainty about their status. These are the top candidates to see their time with the Raiders come to an end.
Prime cut candidates
Late in the season, his play improved significantly. Much of that had to do with John Pagano actually using him the right way and putting him in better match-ups. Even still, he has underachieved in two seasons in Oakland since they made a big investment in him, paying him an average of $10 million per season. He will be the 5th highest paid player on the team ($8.5 million) and started just 8 games this season. He’s reached the point in his contract where the team can cut him with no dead money left behind.
Crabtree is a bit of a wild card here. Reports recently suggested the Raiders were ready to move on from Crabtree. His drops and attitude being the primary issues. The ongoing feud he had with Aqib Talib didn’t help. The 30-year-old Crabtree is set to make $7.7 million next season with no dead money left behind and the team gave him just 17 snaps in the season finale. Keep in mind, that was his status with the previous coaching staff. The new staff may see things differently.
His deal with the Raiders was always a ‘one-year then wait and see’ situation. His salary more than doubles from $2.7 million in 2017 to $6 million in 2018 which the team can simply opt not to pick up if they so choose. The Raiders got the fans excited with him suiting up in Silver & Black, they got their jersey sales, he got his reality show and his merchandise sales and hit the 10K career rushing mark on the final game of the season. The reports that suggest his joking undermined Derek Carr as the leader of the team don’t help.
The idea of cutting both the team’s starting corners is not the most ideal. Amerson, like Smith, has a hefty contract in 2018 ($6 million) and can be cut without any dead money. He struggled early in the season along with most of the corners and then was injured for the final 9 games. Also consider that he was cut by Jon Gruden’s brother in Washington, so it’s unlikely Jon has high hopes for Amerson.
The above four players alone would save the Raiders $28.2 million with no dead money left behind if they’re cut.
Currently the Raiders have $18.926 million in projected cap space according to Overthecap.com. If they were to cut all the above players, their projected $47.126 million in cap space would be top ten in the NFL. That would allow them to re-sign some of their own free agents and make some noise in free agency as well.