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5 potential salary cap casualties in free agency

While they are not free agents, some of these guys could have played their last down for the Silver and Black

Las Vegas Raiders v Indianapolis Colts
Hunter Renfrow
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

While the Las Vegas Raiders are set to begin free agency with somewhere between $36.1 million (Over The Cap’s estimation) and $43.5 million (Spotrac), the Raiders can create even more space by getting out of some bad contracts. In a crucial offseason where several quality free agents will be available, every dollar counts.

Below is a look at a few players who could become cap casualties as well as how much cap space Las Vegas would save and how much dead cap they would take on for each player.

Hunter Renfrow

2023 Stats: 25 receptions, 255 yards, 0 TDs

Pre-6/1 release (per Spotrac): $5.5 million 2024 dead cap, $8.2 million 2024 cap savings

Post-6/1 release: $1.8 million 2024 dead cap, $11.8 million 2024 cap savings, $3.7 million 2025 dead cap

Hunter Renfrow’s name appearing on this list should come as no surprise as he pretty much admitted that he knows he’s going to be released when speaking to the media toward the end of the regular season. Renfrow’s role in the offense has significantly decreased since his 100-catch, 1,000-yard season two years ago.

According to Pro Football Reference, the wideout only participated in 35 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, and he’d be the Raiders’ fifth-highest cap hit ($13.7 million) if retained on his current contract. So, this one feels pretty inevitable.

Jerry Tillery

2023 Stats: 31 total tackles (11 solo), 2 sacks, 2 TFL

Pre-6/1 release (per Spotrac): $375,000 2024 dead cap, $3.8 million 2024 cap savings

Post-6/1 release: no difference

Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders
Jerry Tillery
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Las Vegas’ front office will have a much more difficult decision to make when it comes to Jerry Tillery. While he isn’t a starter, Tillery’s contract is still relatively inexpensive and he provides some value as an interior pass-rusher off the bench, finishing third on the team and first among the Raiders’ defensive tackles with 29 pressures, per Pro Football Focus. He also posted a career-high 63.1 PFF run defense grade this season.

However, the fifth-year pro has struggled to defend the run throughout his career as his grades have typically landed in the 40s and 30s. He’ll likely never be an every-down player and putting that extra money toward a free agent may benefit the roster better in the long run, especially since Tillery’s contract expires at the end of next season anyway.

Brandon Facyson

2023 Stats: 3 games, 5 total tackles (4 solo), 0 PD, 0 INTs

Pre-6/1 release (per Spotrac): $350k 2024 dead cap, $2.6 million 2024 cap savings

Post-6/1 release: no difference

After spending a year in Indianapolis, Facyson returned to Las Vegas for his second stint with the Silver and Black last offseason. However, he suffered an injury in training camp that basically kept him out for the entire year as he didn’t debut until Christmas Day.

Whether or not Facyson is worth keeping around will primarily depend on who the Raiders’ defensive coordinator will be. At his best, he can be a good Cover 3 corner who has impressive ball skills, evidenced by his 13 passes defended in 2021. However, he’s also liable to get beat in coverage as he also surrendered 590 receiving yards and six touchdowns that season.

Divine Deablo

2023 Stats: 106 total tackles (65 solo), 4 TFL, 1 sack

Pre-6/1 release (per Spotrac): $245k 2024 dead cap, $1.3 million 2024 cap savings

Post-6/1 release: no difference

Las Vegas Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs
Divine Deablo
Photo by Kirby Lee/Getty Images

Divine Deablo is by far the most productive player on this list as he hit triple-digits in tackles for the first time in his career. However, that figure is somewhat deceiving as he’s more of an average linebacker at best, ranking 65th out of 91 qualifying players at the position with a pedestrian 61.1 PFF grade. Also, he didn’t make many impactful plays as he recorded just 34 defensive stops—a tackle that results in a ‘failure’ for the offense.

For comparison, Luke Masterson only had 27 total tackles and logged almost 600 fewer snaps than Deablo, but managed to finish the year with 10 stops. In other words, Masterson was more efficient by making an impact tackle once every 18.2 snaps versus once every 22.7 opportunities for Deablo.

Creating a bigger opportunity for the younger player and saving some cash in the process could be enough for the Raiders to move on from the 2021 third-round pick. Granted, the savings would be minimal.

Daniel Carlson

2023 Stats: 26-30 FGs (86.7%), 32-32 PATs (100%)

Pre-6/1 release (per Spotrac): $1.6m 2024 dead cap, $3.1 million 2024 cap savings

Post-6/1 release: $800k 2024 dead cap, $3.9 million 2024 cap savings, $800k dead cap

To be honest, out of all the players listed, Daniel Carlson’s release would be the most surprising seeing as he was an All-Pro in 2021 (second-team) and 2022 (first-team). However, Carlson has the eighth-highest annual salary among kickers, yet his field goal percentage ranked 14th this past season. What was even more troublesome is he was just one of three on attempts over 50 yards.

That’s a lot of money to be spending on a kicker who is coming off of a down year, and saving over $3 million could be enticing for a new general manager.