Tommy Kelly Thinks He Is Finished with the Oakland Raiders

D.J. O'ConnorSenior Analyst IIIMarch 9, 2013

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 23:  Referee Jerome Boger tries to stop a fight as Tommy Kelly #93 of the Oakland Raiders pushes forward during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 23, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Tommy Kelly has been mentioned as a prime candidate to be released this offseason because of his massive contract that he signed back in 2008, and now it appears even he is buying into the speculation.

Kelly told the San Francisco Chronicle that "the writing is on the wall" for his release. Kelly said that the Oakland Raiders have not contacted him at all since the end of the regular season.  

Kelly formed a solid tandem with teammate Richard Seymour in the middle of the Raiders' defensive line and were among the NFL's best defensive tackle tandems in 2010. But that was three years ago, and the Raiders are ready to move on, according to Kelly.

Kelly, whom the Raiders signed as an undrafted free agent back in 2004, endorsed Desmond Bryant and Lamarr Houston saying, "the young guys are ready" and that he helped develop those two over the last few years. Kelly also said the Raiders would be "crazy" to not re-sign Bryant.

Releasing Kelly would free up $4.8 million, and that would give the Raiders over $10 million in cap space for 2013 after restructuring Mike Brisiel's and Tyvon Branch's contracts.

With that $10 million in cap space, the Raiders would likely have enough money to re-sign their high-priority free agents such as Philip Wheeler, Bryant and Brandon Myers before the start of free agency on Tuesday.

Kelly's release is not yet official, but if he is released, the Raiders better have a deal in place to keep Bryant. Otherwise, the Raiders' defensive line would lose their top three defensive tackles from the last several years in one offseason, leaving just one on the roster.

I'm not quite ready to endorse Christo Bilukidi as the Raiders' best defensive tackle.