Oakland Raiders Could Be Okay Under New Projected CBA

Carl CockerhamSenior Analyst IJune 30, 2011

Oakland Raiders Could Be Okay Under New Projected CBA

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    They say that a new NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is getting close to being done.

    Rumor has it that the salary cap will be $120 million in 2011 as well as hard cap floor being 90 to 100 percent. With this cap, many have predicted doom and gloom for the Raiders, saying they will lose pretty much every important player who isn't already signed.

    They are already over the cap and will have to cut players to get themselves under the cap. But there is hope the the Raiders could actually be in good cap shape to do what they need to do this offseason.

    Meanwhile are six players the Raiders should go after under the new set of rules who can help in a big way.

    Turn the page to see who they are and how the rules can help.

"Dead Money" Issue

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    The Oakland Raiders have accrued $26 million in dead money due to voided contracts. If this dead money counts, the Raiders will be over the rumored salary cap of $120 million.

    If it doesn't, the Raiders will have some maneuvering room as their total player payroll will be $103.5 million. I believe that the "dead money" will not count because the other owners want the option of voiding contracts without paying a penalty.

    What owner would want to have a voided contract of a unproductive player count toward the cap?

    That defeats the whole purpose of cutting players to save cap space.

    I don't believe too much in the $120 million salary cap that is allegedly coming into the equation either. If the players are to get 48 percent of the pie here, $120 million isn't the correct number.

    NFL total revenue was estimated at $9 billion in 2010 and I don't see that number dropping if they play in 2011. The cap should really be at $135 million for the players to get their 48 percent of the pie.

    Plus the players agreed to the terms because the revenue will be going up in 2012 due to new network deals. Therefore, player contracts can be back loaded for 2012 and beyond to get players in the door. 

    There is some wiggle room here!

Trim Fat from the Roster!

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    Relax!

    I don't see Kamerion Wimbley as fat to be trimmed from the roster.

    However, his franchise tag number of $11 million a year is a bit steep and is easily avoidable. Give Wimbley $32 million over four years and Wimbley is happy, the Raiders save $3 million toward the cap and still have their great outside linebacker.

    Saying goodbye to Chris Johnson would also make sense as the Raiders have drafted corners in the last two drafts. I think Johnson is decent but $3.2 million is a bit much for a non-starter when you already have a $10 million corner and you're trying to keep the best corner in the game.

    Hiram Eugene's signing shouldn't have been anything more than a "just in case" signing. I didn't see any guaranteed money in his deal so his $2.5 million salary could be spared if the Raiders sign their main guys.

    Cooper Carlisle is another player who needs to go because he isn't a scheme fit for the Raiders anymore.

    The Raiders have moved to the power blocking scheme, so his best move would be to join Mike Shanahan with the Washington Redskins and their zone blocking scheme.

    Michael Bennett and his $0.89 million are also likely to be gone after the drafting of Taiwan Jones.

    This brings the Raiders' player payroll to $91 million.

    This is important because the Philadelphia Eagles, the top competitor for Nnamdi Asomugha's services, are at $95 million.

Get Miller Done!

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    Zach Miller has been the most consistent offensive football player the Raiders have had since he was drafted in 2007. Davis loves to reward his guys for excellent years of service, and I don't expect any different for Miller.

    Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis make just over $7 million a year, so I believe $24 million over four years is a good number for Miller. The superb run blocker, Raiders' No. 1 receiver, and 2010 Pro Bowler is worth it.

    Let the chains move on third down!

Get Asomugha Done!

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    Nnamdi Asomugha has been far and away the best football player on the Raiders since around 2006. You can't make arguments for Richard Seymour because he's been a Raider for only two years.

    Darren McFadden just broke out in 2010 and Miller loses the 3-1 Pro Bowl edge to Asomugha. Asomugha looks like the man who's going to get the most out of this year's free agency, but only a horrible team would offer him more than $12 million a year.

    Darrelle Revis' contract only averages $9.75 million a year.

    So I see $48 million over four years as do-able because that will make him the top paid corner in the game. The Eagles are more than just a corner away from a Super Bowl, so I don't see them going above that.

    The Raiders will then have two shut-down corners and Rod Woodson to coach them.

Get Huff Done!

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    Michael Huff showed signs of getting it in 2010 with three interceptions and four sacks. He even started to make tackles coming down the stretch, bringing his total to 94.

    There are many in Raider Nation who don't think much of Huff, but the Associated Press doesn't agree. They made Huff a second team All-Pro as he finally just started to scratch the surface of what he can do.

    Four years for $16 million should do it here.

    The Raiders' secondary is now back intact!

Bring Morrison Back Home!

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    Did Al Davis hear me when I screamed it from the Raider Nation roof tops?

    ESPN.com has Kirk Morrison as one of the players the Raiders will seek out when the lockout ends. http://espn.go.com/blog/afcwest

    I'm betting it's because the Raiders need an outside linebacker who can cover and play the run.

    Morrison shined in his rookie season with 91 tackles and two fumble recoveries from the outside linebacker position. He's had as many as four interceptions in a season plus he's a native of Oakland.

    The first priority for the Raiders right now should be to bring back their own players. Morrison is a Raider despite playing in Jacksonville last year, as he is a beloved man in the community and in the locker room.

    In a previously written article, I expressed how I believe he can help the Raiders at outside linebacker.

    I just might get my wish.

    Eight million over four years should be the price here.

    This improves the locker-room chemistry and helps the Raiders stop the run. 

Jared Gaither Is out There!

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    Jared Gaither is a guy who can put the Raiders over the top as far as building a "bully." He gave Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco ample time to get his throws off in Hue Jackson and Al Saunders' vertical offense.

    I gave up on that dream until hearing that unrestricted free agency would start at four years. This is why many teams may choose to avoid him along with the fact that he will only have so long to learn a new offense.

    Jackson and Saunders are now in Oakland, so there isn't a new offense to learn by becoming a Raider. I think $4 million a year might do it, as Gaither missed all of 2010 with a back injury.

    The contract can be loaded with incentives that have to do with availability to play.

    If need be, Davis should consider cutting Darrius Heward-Bey to free up an extra $2 million to give Gaither $6 million.

    Heyward-Bey's guaranteed money has already been paid out.

    The left tackle issue would then be solved! 

How About LeRon McClain?

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    I don't think that Michael Bush will be back with the Raiders in 2011.

    Don't shoot the messenger, because I don't like it, either!

    The man wants starter money and he wants to start, but that won't happen in Raider Nation. Honestly, the best place for Bush at this point is the Washington Redskins, because he will start, get paid and run in Shanahan's zone blocking system where he's most comfortable.

    Those who think Bush isn't replaceable are wrong, because LeRon McClain is a two-time Pro Bowler. He's actually more physical than Bush to push piles and can catch the ball out of the backfield, too.

    His cost will be about $2.5 million and he also won't need to learn a new playbook. He adds great value to the Raider offense because aside from what I mentioned, he would make a tremendous backup fullback and knows the playbook.

    This is a good fit!

Overview

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    I obviously don't know how everything will shake out, but this article is to show you that there are plenty of possibilities for the Raiders. The doom and gloom prediction everyone has for the Raiders isn't automatic.

    If all the signings went this way, the Raiders would be $1.5 million over the cap. Then, of course there can and will be players who will be more expensive to sign for the Raiders.

    However, a contract or two could be back loaded as the cap will rise in the future to make certain players fit. We should also remember that the player's 48 percent comes out to $135 million in cap space as well.

    That and the "dead money" issue would give the Raiders plenty of options.

    Don't close the book on the Raiders just yet.

    The "bully" can and will be built!