"Holy Toledo!"

February 24, 2009

Raiders Make More Moves

Filed under: NFL — Bill @ 9:56 am

With a Thursday salary cap deadline looming the Oakland Raiders & coach Tom Cable are thinning the herd. Cutting the fat is a requirement in order to get the Raiders in under the salary cap, making room for new free agent acquisitions, and to finalize the new deals for Nnamdi Asomugha & Shane Lechler. Nobody is safe from the ax on a team that has lost 11 games or more for six consecutive seasons.


Some of the moves were predictable, one was not. As of this moment gone are Kwame Harris, Kalimba Edwards, Justin Griffith, Ronald Curry, & Gibril Wilson. Rumors continue to swirls that Tommy Kelly, Javon Walker, Terdell Sands, & Michael Huff could be next.


Perhaps the biggest surprise was the release of safety Gibril Wilson, who was second on the team in tackles last season. Often productive players like Wilson are offered the opportunity to restructure their contracts in order to make them more “cap friendly,” a tactic the Raiders have used often over the years. My suspicion is that Wilson was given this option but instead chose to get out of Oakland. The release of Wilson makes Huff’s spot on the roster more secure.


In the not-so-surprising moves the Raiders cut tackle Kwame Harris, who led the NFL in penalties. Harris was benched late last season in favor of the younger Mario Henderson. Also released was fullback Justin Griffith, who will be replaced by Oren O’Neal. Cutting these two players saved the Raiders $8.3 million against the 2009 salary cap.


The much improved play of young wide receivers Johnnie Lee Higgins & Chaz Schilens made Ronald Curry expendable. Curry, who has been slowed by several injuries, has been a solid performer for the Raiders. It is sad to see him go. The move leaves the team thin in an already below average wide receiver squad. Look for the team to draft additional help.


Cutting players saves the team money but it also has a cost. Any signing bonus paid to a player is averaged over the term of the contract, however if the player is cut the remaining pro-rated portion of the bonus is immediately added to the team’s current salary cap number (don’t worry you won’t be tested on this). The bottom line is that players who no longer play for the team can count against the current salary cap. Gibril Wilson will cost the Raiders $7 million & DeAngelo Hall is $5.8 million.


If the Raiders were to cut Tommy Kelly he would count as $10.8 million, Javon Walker would be $9 million, Michael Huff would be $6.8 million, & Terdell Sands would be $2 million.. Obviously this is an important consideration in deciding whether or not to keep or cut a high priced player.


Thursday’s midnight deadline also triggers the beginning of the free agent signing period. Teams can then officially sign players who are available on the open market. This year’s free agent class has some solid players but unfortunately for the Raiders there aren’t many quality wide receivers. Since there is such a premium placed on offensive tackles it is unlikely the Raiders will find any help without paying a heavy price tag.


So what will the Raiders do with their #7 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft? Casual fans might hope they take a wide receiver and JaMarcus Russell probably hopes they choose an offensive tackle. Two possible draftees are WR Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech or OT Paul Waxler (Wake Forrest). Both are extremely gifted and would be a great addition to the Raiders roster. If I had to bet I suspect the Raiders will take Waxler, but much can change between now and the Draft.



1 Comment »

  1. good to see you back working after a long lay off.

    Comment by uncle buck — March 6, 2009 @ 3:22 pm

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