For a couple years the impending extension of Khalil Mack has loomed. As if the team would need to brace themselves for it’s impact and clear the books to make room for it. It will be a big time extension, there’s no doubt about that. But it may not actually leave the crater in the Raiders salary cap figure you might think.
I myself have used words like “sizable chunk” when referring to what Mack’s extension would do to their available money under the cap. Although, up until now I hadn’t really taken an in-depth look at it to see what kind of figure we’d be talking about. Now that I have, I’m not sure I see there being much of an impact at all.
Right now, he already represents a $13.86 million cap hit. He is expected to sign a deal that will pay him around $20 million per season. But this is an extension. Which means if he signs a 5-year deal, he will be under contract for six years, with the larger cap figures likely starting in 2019.
For that reason it’s possible his cap number for 2018 could stay relatively the same as it is right now. It could even lower.
You don’t have to dig too much to find examples of this.
Take Derek Carr’s deal.
Carr signed a 5-year, $25 million extension prior to last season. But the Raiders didn’t have a $25 million cap hit for Carr in 2017. His cap hit was $15.73 million. This year he will count $25 million against the cap.
That’s just the Raiders. It gets better.
Look at Green Bay, where Reggie McKenzie learned his strategy. Prior to last season the Packers extended Davante Adams for four years at $14.5 million per season. But in 2017 his cap hit was $4.8 million.
Or in 2016 when the Eagles gave Lane Johnson a 5-year, $56.25 million extension. That’s over $11 per season and yet his cap hit that year was $7.7 million.
In each instance the cap figure the year they received the extension was much lower than the average per year of the new deal. Somewhere between 33% (Adams) and 70% (Johnson) of the average per year amount of the contract.
If you go by Carr’s cap hit in the year he signed his extension, it’s 63% of his per year average in the contract. Which, if you put Mack’s number at $20 million per season, would give him a cap hit in 2017 of $12.6 million. That’s $1.2 million million below his current cap hit. Which suggests that not only might his extension not raise his cap hit in 2018, it could actually lower it.
This wouldn’t mean Mack would be taking a pay cut for 2018 either. The up front money in the form of a signing bonus would bring his pay for this year up to well over what he is currently scheduled to make this season. Basically, everyone wins.
With an estimated $19 million available under the cap before having just re-signed Justin Ellis to a 3-year, $15 million deal, the Raiders could certainly use some cap relief in order to re-sign outside free agents.