Last week, ESPN analyst John Clayton wrote, “Depending on how much dead money is created by the voiding of Nnamdi Asomugha’s contract, the Raiders are more than $10 million over the cap.” As with most of the NFL articles you’ve read for the last few months, this phrase from that article amounted to nothing more than another filler of words to justify his salary and give rabid fans something football-related to read about.
At the time, there wasn’t the same optimism that there is today about an end to NFL labor negotiations. Therefore, there was even less information available about what sort of salary cap the Raiders or any of their brethren would be subjected to this coming season, or the next few seasons.
If Clayton has some inside information on the topic, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time, then it would stand to reason that his assessment would certainly be worrisome for the Raiders. That conclusion would assume that the Raiders organization is no further ‘inside’ the situation than Clayton himself — and we all know that’s not true.
I don’t know if Al Davis knows the difference between a pawn or a rook, I’m pretty sure he does, but I do know that he and the Raiders have consistently played the salary cap like a game of Chess since the signing of Larry Brown hurt them in the mid-90’s.
Clayton went on to write, “They can save $2.1 million by cutting guard Cooper Carlisle, but they have only six players with salaries of more than $1 million that can be used to restructure contracts to free up cap room. Remember they gave extensions to defensive end Richard Seymour and defensive tackle John Henderson and made Kamerion Wimbley a franchise player.“
Therein lies the rub — why would the Raiders strike those deals knowing they wouldn’t be able to restructure enough somewhere else to field a team?
The answer, as simple as it is, is that they wouldn’t do that.
With the lockout nearly a thing of the past, don’t be surprised that Clayton was right about one thing — Carlisle’s days as a Raider are likely over. The veteran lineman is more valuable in the zone blocking scheme that will no longer be the focus of the Raiders’ offensive line.
Over the last two seasons, Carlisle has struggled in both the power and zone blocking schemes, making it clear that his salary is more than the Raiders are going to want to pay — especially when Davis and head coach Hue Jackson seem so prepared to use their youth this coming season.
What events can you expect to happen when the labor disagreement ends? Here are a few:
- The Raiders re-sign Zach Miller.
- Michael Bush becomes a ‘restricted’ free agent and is re-signed.
- Michael Huff, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Robert Gallery call another town ‘home’ within two weeks after the agreement is announced.
- The Raiders do at least ONE thing that surprises most everyone. Whether it’s signing a big-name receiver for pennies on the dollar or making a trade, it is anyone’s guess.
What you won’t see (other than the opposite of what’s already been mentioned):
- A full-blown juggle of player’s contracts in order for the team to get under the salary cap.
- A supplamental draft pick made. (While Terrell Pryor is being mentioned as a Raider target, it’s important to note that he does not have the great arm strength Davis covets and he’s not incredibly athletic. Could he be a good NFL QB? Maybe.)
- A disgruntled Raider making controversial comments about his teammates or the organization. (Yes, that was a shot at the Steelers, who are being called by some, “The Raiders of the 70’s,” which just isn’t close to being true.)
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