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Oakland Raiders: Seymour, Huff Restructure Contracts to Free Salary Cap Space

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 10:  Defensive lineman Richard Seymour #92 of the Oakland Raiders looks on from the sidelines in the game with the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on November 10, 2011 in San Diego, California.  The Raiders won 24-17.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Gary DavenportNFL AnalystMarch 7, 2012

The Oakland Raiders took a pair of steps to address their precarious salary cap situation Wednesday, restructuring the contracts of defensive lineman Richard Seymour and safety Michael Huff in moves that should free up almost $12 million in salary cap space.

Brian McIntyre of Mac's Football Blog reported the the details of the deals, which cut Seymour's cap hit for 2012 nearly in half while turning much of Huff's 2012 base salary into a more cap-friendly roster bonus and adding two years to the four-year, $32 million deal that the seventh-year safety signed last season, which allows the bonus to be pro-rated over a longer period of time.

According to a league source, Seymour lowered his $7.5 million fully guaranteed base salary to the league minimum ($925,000) with the remaining $6.575 million converted to a guaranteed roster bonus that will be treated as a signing bonus for salary cap purposes. Seymour's adjusted base salary is fully guaranteed and another season, with a $7.5 million base salary and $7.5 million roster bonus, was tacked onto Seymour's contract to allow the roster bonus to be prorated over the maximum allowable number of years (five).

Under {Huff's] restructured contract, Huff's base salary base salary was reduced to $700,000, which is fully guaranteed, with the remaining $3.3 million combined with his $4 million roster bonus to create a guaranteed $7.3 million roster bonus that will be treated like a signing bonus for salary cap purposes. Two additional years with $4 million base salaries and $4 million roster bonuses were added to allow the 2012 guaranteed roster bonus to be prorated over five seasons.

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 31:  Mike Williams #17 of the Seattle Seahawks catches the ball while defended by Michael Huff #24 of the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 31, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Image
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The increase in Seymour's base salary next season is eye-popping at first glance, but that $7.5 million is not guaranteed, and what looks like a $37.5 million, five-year contract is, for all intents and purposes, a one-year guaranteed deal for $7.5 million, while Oakland basically played a "shell game" with Huff, with the player receiving a bit more guaranteed cheddar while the team gains additional cap flexibility.

The new regime in Oakland was left with quite the financial mess where the Raiders salary cap situation is concerned, and today's negotiations were another example of new general manager Reggie McKenzie making the best of a bad situation while attempting to keep the core of the Raiders defense intact.

Or, they could be trying to free up money to make a run at Peyton Manning.

Relax, I'm kidding. I hope.

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