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After having his hands tied in his first offseason, I have a strong feeling that McKenzie might be ready to clean house a bit this spring in hopes of freeing up a bit of cap space.
Among the players who could be on the chopping block are Tyvon Branch, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Huff, Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour.
Of those guys, I think Branch and Heyward-Bey are safe, but if I were in charge, the other three would all be gone.
For Huff, his disappointing tenure as a Raider should definitely come to an end. Huff is owed $8 million a year for the next two seasons, and 2013 will mark the first time that he has no guaranteed money coming his way.
While the transition from safety to corner is a tough one, Huff never excelled enough even as a safety to justify $8 million a year.
Next up is the duo of Kelly and Seymour. Over the next two seasons, Kelly is owed $13.5 million, while Seymour is owed $30 million over the next four seasons. Yuck!
After appearing to be a formidable tandem, both players have regressed significantly this season, proving to be nothing more than a pair of aging veterans along a dreadful defensive line. Neither player has guaranteed money coming their way, so in my mind, both of these decisions should be simple ones.
Lastly, that brings us to the two guys who are on the fence: Tyvon Branch and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Branch was just signed to a big free-agent contract last season, but has been disappointing throughout 2012.
Branch is owed $20 million over the next three seasons, including $9.5 million in 2013 alone ($3.5 million of which is guaranteed). Once believed to be an elite safety, Branch has struggled this season and has caused many to question his place among the highest paid safeties.
Because of the guaranteed money remaining on his deal, however, I think there is little chance that he isn't back in Oakland next season.
Last up is DHB, the only player on this list who is on the upward portion of his career. The problem is, he still isn't quite worth the $7.7 million he is due in 2013.
I think the obvious play here is to restructure his deal into a long-term deal with a lower base salary. Given where he was drafted and how well he has played, I would be shocked to see him gone next year.