Salary cap can always be manipulated. Al Davis taught us that. There’s always ways to clear cap room without the players involved losing any money. Case in point; what a few Raiders players did this week.
Raiders WR Jordy Nelson ($3.6M), LB Tahir Whitehead ($3.325M), LB Kyle Wilber ($500k) & TE Lee Smith ($1.1M) had their 2019 roster bonuses moved up to be paid out this week, per source. For cap purposes, that prorates the bonuses over 2018 & 2019. Some late season cap management.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 28, 2018
According to Overthecap.com, the 2019 roster bonus numbers for these players are a bit different than Yates lays out here. Jordy Nelson’s is $4.1 million and Lee Smith’s is $1.35 million.
The Raiders had some $5.2 million in cap space available this season with which to make these moves and with one game, they don’t need to save it to sign anyone else. Had they had more, they may have done the same with other players as well.
So, what does this mean for the 2019 cap?
It doesn’t mean much in terms of saving on the cap next year. Cap rollover would have just moved the remaining 2018 cap to 2019 anyway. What it does is offer the players some security to get their bonuses now. It signals that the Raiders have every intention of brining back Tahir Whitehead, Kyle Wilber, Nelson, and Smith.
Thee Raiders didn’t need to add any relief to the 2019 cap. They already have a surplus of $78.72 million in projected cap space, which is the fifth most in the NFL for 2019, so they’ll be just fine.