Carson Palmer's contract is hurting the Raiders.
The Oakland Raiders haven’t had much cap space for several years, but the problem was compounded when the team traded for Carson Palmer in 2011. Not only did Palmer cost the Raiders a lot of money against the salary cap, but the Raiders traded away picks that would have turned into bargain free agents.
Reggie McKenzie really had no choice but to purge the roster of some deadweight in 2012 and that continued in 2013 with the release of Michael Huff and Darrius Heyward-Bey. The Raiders added $14.8 million in dead money with the releases and saved just over $6 million of cap space according to overthecap.com.
The Raiders now have $32.9 million worth of dead money in 2013, which is 26.7 percent of the total salary cap. This is money that counts against the salary cap for one year, even though the player is not on the team. It’s money that typically has already been paid to the players in the form of signing bonuses.
According to overthecap.com, the Raiders have $77.8 million committed to players who are currently on the roster. The salary cap of $123 million plus the $4.5 million the Raiders rolled over from 2012 is the total amount the Raiders can spend in 2013, or $127.5 million.
Take this $127.5 million subtract the $32.9 in dead money and the $77.8 million in player contracts to arrive at the total cap space before any signings ($16.8 million in cap space before the re-signing of Phillip Adams).
Approximate Current Cap Space: $9.7 million*
*Actual 2013 cap space will be updated when available
Phillip Adams played well in limited action in 2012.
The Raiders re-signed cornerback Phillip Adams to a one-year deal worth $630,000 according to Steve Corkran of the Bay Area News Group.
2013 Cap Hit: $630,000
The Raiders re-signed defensive back Coye Francies to a one-year deal worth $630,000 according to Steve Corkran of the Bay Area News Group.
2013 Cap Hit: $630,000
The Raiders signed linebacker Kaluka Maiava to a three-year deal worth $6 million according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Maiava's contract includes $2.035 bonus according to Aaron Wilson of theBaltimore Sun.
Approximate 2013 Cap Hit: $2 million*
The Raiders signed linebacker Nick Roach to a four-year contract worth $13 million according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.. The deal includes $3.185 signing bonus and $5 million total guaranteed. Roach's cap number is $1.63 million in 2013 according to Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
2013 Cap Hit: $1.63 million
Kevin Burnett signed a two-year contract worth $5.25 million with a $1.285 signing bonus, $250,000 incentive, $125,000 workout bonus according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Burnett has base salaries of $840,000 and $2.875 million, with cap numbers of $1.857 million and $3.642 million per Wilson.
2013 Cap Hit: $1.857 million
Vance Walker's one-year contract is worth $2 million with $500,000 signing bonus, $200,000 workout bonus and $250,000 in incentives according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
2013 Cap Hit: $2.7-$2.95 million
*Actual cap hit information will be added once available. Approximate values is based on yearly average or what information is publicly available.
The Raiders can still release Tommy Kelly to create more cap space.
The Raiders have two players on the roster who could net them additional salary cap space: Carson Palmer and Tommy Kelly. If Palmer were released, he’d save the Raiders $6.0 million in cap space. If Kelly were released, he’d save the Raiders $4.8 million in cap space.
The Raiders could essentially clear another $10.8 million in cap space to add to the $16.1 million they already have. In theory, the Raiders could have over $27 million worth of salary cap to use to sign players.
Using the general rule that an average free agent costs approximated $3 million per season, the Raiders could afford to sign nine such players. That’s not nearly enough players since the Raiders would have about 40 players on the roster, and it doesn’t account for the No. 3 overall pick.
At some point the Raiders will release Rolando McClain, which will cost them $10.9 million against the cap. McClain’s cap hit is actually lower if he stays on the roster, which means there is not only no savings if he’s cut, but the Raiders will hurt their own cap situation. For this reason, the Raiders will wait to release McClain until they’ve made all the roster moves they need to make.