According to NFL Network's Adam Schefter, the Oakland Raiders are expected to release wide receiver Javon Walker. Walker was signed last year in a free agent spending spree by Raiders' owner, Al Davis.
Walker's contract was a six-year deal worth $55 million with with $16 million guaranteed. It was a surprisingly large amount of money for the injury-prone receiver.
Last year, Walker played in eight games, catching 15 passes for 196 yards and one touchdown before being injured and placed on injured reserve.
Even in only eight games, those are disgusting numbers for a starting receiver, especially given his contract. Walker was outplayed by both second-year player Johnnie Lee Higgins and rookie Chaz Schilens.
Adam Schefter reports that Javon Walker is due a $5 million roster bonus by Mar. 3 and that the Raiders would rather cut him than pay it. Still, releasing him will cost the Raiders $14.16 million against the cap this year.
If you take the average dollar amount Walker receives per year over his contract ($9.16 million) and add the roster bonus he will be due, it equals $14.16 million, the same amount it will cost to release him.
Releasing Javon Walker now means they will be completely free of his contract next year, allowing the Raiders to spend that money on free agents during the 2010 offseason.
The release of Javon Walker marks the end of the Raiders' big free agent spending spree last offseason, which included cornerback, DeAngelo Hall, who was acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons and safety, Gibril Wilson, who tested the free agent market after leaving the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
Now the release of Javon Walker brings up a new question: are the Raiders making room for their first round draft pick? It is well known that Al Davis loves fast 40-yard dash times and Maryland wide receiver Darius Heyward-Bey just ran it in 4.3 seconds, the second fastest time for a receiver at the NFL scouting combine in the past decade.