According to Michael Lombardi of NFL Network on Twitter, the Raiders are expected to release Wimbley sometime Friday before a huge chunk of the 28-year-old linebacker's money becomes fully guaranteed.
The two sides had attempted to work out a contract re-structuring, but there were several roadblocks to that happening—most notably the lack of incentive for Wimbley.
Given the Raiders' cap situation, releasing Wimbley is a move the team almost has to make. The guaranteed money is just too much to ignore.
If kept on the roster past the fifth league day (Friday, March 17), Wimbley would see almost $18 million of his contract become guaranteed money. While $6.5 million has already been guaranteed for 2012, another $4.5 million this season would become guaranteed by the end of the league day Friday.
Wimbley would also lock in $11 million in 2013 and $2 million in 2014 if he isn't released.
All along, Wimbley was unlikely to alter the five-year, $48 million deal he signed with the Raiders last summer to avoid the transition tag.
With $6.5 million already guaranteed for 2012, Wimbley had little incentive to re-structure. It's a win-win situation for Wimbley regardless of what the Raiders do.
If Oakland does release him, as Lombardi has reported, he'll walk with $6.5 million in hand this season and have a chance to find more guaranteed money on the open market. With Mario Williams signed, sealed and delivered to Buffalo, Wimbley would become the de facto No. 1 pass-rusher available.
That alone could mean another large contract plump with guarantees.
And if Oakland decided to keep him past Friday, Wimbley would lock in the $17.5 million over the next three seasons.
From a monetary standpoint, what incentive did Wimbley have to re-structure?
Given Lombardi's report is true, Wimbley should have plenty of suitors in free agency. Two teams that instantly come to mind are the Chicago Bears and San Diego Chargers, but any team that needs a pass-rusher will give Wimbley due diligence.
Expect the market to move fast for Wimbley if he is released Friday.