We are inches away from football season again!
We now have a clearer picture of what the new C.B.A. will be and it looks good for the Raiders. The Raiders will actually be in the running for Nnamdi Asomugha because "dead money" won't count toward the salary cap.
On NFL Network, Jason LaCanfora said, "Teams will have to spend at least 90 percent of the cap in cash and won't be able to play with dead money as they have in the past."
So that leaves the Raiders at $103.2 million in players' salaries as of now.
The salary cap is set at $120 million with a $3 million exemption to sign one player. But to bring back Asomugha, there will still have to be some cuts to make room to bring in additional help.
Therefore, the Raiders will have their healthy share of players on the roster bubble.
Turn the page to see who they are.
Chris Johnson is a pretty good corner that is due to make $3.2 million in 2011. The Raiders have already drafted speedster Demarcus Van Dyke at the position and are spending $10 million a year on Stanford Routt.
So if there is a plan to try to bring Asomugha back, the Raiders have to take some money of the position. A No. 3 corner making $3.2 million is a little steep, especially on a team with two corners making over $10 million.
This would bring the Raiders' player salaries to $100 million.
Jeremy Ware is a corner that started his career on the roster bubble and has done nothing to take himself off. The Raiders are reworking the corner position for life with or without Asomugha, so Ware could be out either way.
That Van Dyke kid was drafted in the third round for a reason.
That $500,000 he's due in 2011 isn't big, but the corner position is going to be crowded.
Michael Bennett was a good addition in 2010 to keep speed in the backfield if McFadden goes down. Bennett is no longer necessary if fourth-round pick Taiwan Jones looks good in camp.
Bennett is a veteran that is to be payed $890,000 if he's with to team all year. If Jones is half way decent, I look for the Raiders to take Bennett's salary out of commission with all the money they already have tied up in the Raiders backfield.
Bennett out would make the Raiders' player salaries $98.61 million.
Before the draft, Hiram Eugene signed a four-year, $10.25 million contract that would give him $2 million in 2011. He was the guy that manned the free safety spot until Michael Huff got it right in 2010.
The results there weren't very good because Huff wouldn't have gotten another chance if they were. This was a just in case signing with no guarantee language in the contract and the Raider drafted free safety Chimdi Chekwa since then, so $2 million is a little much for a player like Eugene.
This could bring the Raiders' player salaries to $96.61 million.
Cooper Carlisle was once a solid guard for the Raiders.
He first came to Raider Nation under the zone blocking movement Tom Cable brought in under head coach Lane Kiffin. Zone blocking is no longer used, and the undersized Carlisle showed in 2010 that he is not a fit for power blocking.
The line of scrimmage has to move forward, not backward as power blocking doesn't depend on cut blocks. Davis also has plans for athletic freak Bruce Campbell at guard, so $2.5 million is too rich for my blood here.
This would bring the Raiders' player salary total to $94.11 million.
Brandon Myers dropped too many passes in 2010 after looking good in limited duty in 2009. The Raiders used their compensatory pick in the seventh round to select David Ausberry of USC.
This may be another one of those overlooked, late round gems Davis comes up with. Ausberry officially came out of college as a receiver, but the 6'4", 245-pound, electronically timed 4.46 40-man could switch to tight end.
Raider head coach Hue Jackson told the Oakland Tribune, "Obviously this guy has room for growth. I mean this guy can get up to 255, 260 pounds and knows, he might be an unbelievable tight end."
The former receiver has great hands too so Myers can't be too comfortable.
His number for 2011 is $480,000.
I am optimistic that the Raiders will work out a deal that save the Raiders four million from his $11 million franchise tag. That along with these cuts would have the Raiders at $89.63 million in players salaries for 2011.
Based on the salaries of players selected in Rounds 2 to 7 last year, I'm projecting this year's draft class to cost around $2.63 million in 2011. Add that to all my madness and the Raiders end up with a player payroll of $92.26 million.
The in free agency, the Raiders can keep Zach Miller for about $6 million. The Raiders should then be able to bring back Asomugha for around $15 million, sitting the Raiders at $113.26 million.
It was brought to my attention by citizen of Raider Nation that Michael Huff did an interview wearing a Dallas Cowboys hat. That's a no-no, so I don't think Raiders' owner Al Davis has any intention of bringing him back.
Strong safety Tyvon Branch may be better at free safety, moving Mike Mitchell into the starting lineup in his stead.
On Jay Richardson's radio show, Bruce Campbell told Jay that he is moving to tackle. Davis must believe in him and Jared Veldheer, so tackle must be out in his year's free agency for the Raiders.
So there would be plenty of change left to fill the roster for someone like Kirk Morrison to come back and play outside linebacker. All the doom and gloom articles about the Raiders and the cap are turning out not to be true.
There are some guys on the bubble, but Asomugha is doable along with other help being brought in.