When Reggie McKenzie took over football operations as the GM of the Oakland Raiders last year, he began the deconstruction of the team and tried to get the salary cap cleared up. Although the cap crisis in Oakland isn't quite as bad this offseason, we can still expect to see some players get cut.
Last year, the Raiders cut overpaid and under-performing players like Kevin Boss and Stanford Routt, but they also had to cut good players who were paid too much, like their best pass rusher from 2011, Kamerion Wimbley. They also couldn't afford to keep their powerful running back Michael Bush.
One of the positional groups expected to be looked at this offseasonis the defensive tackle position, where Richard Seymour's contract has been voided due to him missing eight games in 2012. Also in the same positional group is Tommy Kelly, who signed a massive contract with the Raiders back in 2008, as well as the rising talent in Desmond Bryant, who came to Oakland undrafted out of Harvard.
Bryant and Seymour are both unrestricted free agents, while Kelly is under contract through two more years. The Raiders also used their sixth-round draft pick in 2012 on Christo Bilukidi to go along with the other three.
Bryant is a must-keep defensive tackle for the Raiders. His growth and development have him on pace to be a solid defensive tackle in the NFL. He could be kept at a fair price and he is ready to be a starter.
With Bilukidi, Kelly and Bryant on the team, that leaves Seymour out as the fourth man in the group, but that should not be the case. Seymour should be on top of the depth chart in that group.
Should the Raiders keep Richard Seymour?
I am aware of the main arguments against Seymour: his hefty salary, his age (33) and the fact that he just missed half a season to a hamstring injury.
But let's look at the reasons to keep Seymour.
In the eight games that he did play in this season, he had 12 tackles, including three sacks. That had him on pace for a six-sack season, which would have been the best on the pass-rush deprived defense.
Also, Seymour is invaluable as a leader, not just on defense, but for the team as a whole, as evidenced by this YouTube clip from the Raiders' locker room. Considering how Rolando McClain has burned out in Oakland, the Raiders need a veteran in the huddle on defense. Seymour is best-suited for the job, as he has been a Raider—and a productive one at that—since coming to Oakland in 2009.
But someone in this position group has to go right? There is just too much money being spent here and not enough bang for the buck in return.
The solution would be to cut Tommy Kelly and his $50 million contract running through 2014. To briefly compare Kelly to Seymour, Seymour had his three sacks in eight games while Kelly got his 1.5 sacks while playing in all 16 games. That's half the sacks in twice the amount of games played for Kelly.
Kelly is 32 years old, just a year younger than Seymour, and doesn't have quite the resume that Seymour has, with his three Super Bowl rings from New England.
The best formula for the Raiders would be to keep Seymour, cut Kelly and re-sign Bryant going forward.