Tyvon Branch's Restructured Contract Will Help the Raiders Re-Sign Free Agents

D.J. O'ConnorSenior Analyst IIIMarch 7, 2013

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 06: Joel Dreessen #81 of the Denver Broncos is tackled by Tyvon Branch #33 of the Oakland Raiders  at O.co Coliseum on December 6, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Just a few days after the Oakland Raiders got under the salary cap for 2013 by restructuring the contract of guard Mike Brisiel, the Raiders were at it again Thursday night with the restructuring of strong safety Tyvon Branch's contract.

Brisiel's restructured contract got the Raiders just $1.5 million under the cap, which isn't a lot of room to do anything with in terms of signing free agents.  Branch's restructured contract helped the Raiders save another $5 million off the 2013 cap.

The restructures of Brisiel's and Branch's contracts now have the Raiders at about $6.5-7 million under the cap, which still isn't great, but it is enough room to start re-signing some of their free agents.

That $7 million in cap space should grow as the Raiders contemplate tweaking the contracts of Darrius Heyward-Bey, Carson Palmer and Tommy Kelly.

For now, that $7 million should help the Raiders get players like Brandon Myers and Philip Wheeler back under contract, if they wish.  Wheeler just told The San Francisco Chronicle that his agent was talking with the team, but he was unsure if a deal would get done before the start of free agency on March 12.

That report came out Thursday morning.  Branch's restructured contract was reported Thursday night.  The significance here is that the Raiders now have an additional $6 million in cap space, which could accelerate the process of re-signing Wheeler.

Myers is another free agent who is coming off a good season.  He thought he was leaving town but could be affordable thanks to the restructuring of Branch's contract.

Opinions may vary on whether or not guys like Wheeler and Myers are worth re-signing, but the important thing is that Reggie McKenzie now at least has the flexibility to bring them back if he wishes.