What Does Al Davis Have Up His Sleeve Now for the Oakland Raiders?

Ramone BrownSenior Writer IJanuary 14, 2011

Al Davis is currently under heavy criticism, while the Raiders organization and roster seem to be in total disarray.

The recent happenings within the Raiders organization have only raised further questions and complicated matters further.

Much to the dismay of many Raider fans, the Oakland Raiders are the only team in the NFL currently without a head coach and Al Davis seems to be taking his sweet time to resolve the situation.

Hue Jackson is the top candidate to replace former head coach Tom Cable, but Davis is in no hurry to make any such announcement.

Though Jackson is still under contract by the Oakland Raiders, he has said, "I want to be a head coach at some point and won't necessarily spurn any overtures from other teams."

Fortunately for the Oakland Raiders, there are no head coaching vacancies in the NFL, aside from Oakland that is.

So Jackson will not be receiving any offers from any other teams; that means he is not going anywhere.

Unfortunately for Jackson, though, Oakland is the only head coaching vacancy in the NFL and there may be other candidates.

For example, Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher have both stated they want to get back into coaching. As of right now, their only NFL option is the Oakland Raiders.

The same goes for any other NFL head coaching candidates: As of right now, Oakland is the only option.

For Davis, this is a win-win situation. The Raiders have Jackson waiting in the wings to become their next head coach, but if someone better comes along, the Raiders have the option to go that route as well.

Knowing Davis and the way the Raiders operate, I wouldn't be surprised if they waited until the last minute to announce a coaching decision. And while Davis is taking his time to announce his decision, I would expect Adam Schefter and the rest of the talking heads at ESPN to fabricate no less than three rumors regarding the Raiders coaching situation.

Then there's the little free agency situation. In 2011, roughly half of the players on the Raiders roster are set to become free agents—many of whom are reportedly upset with the decision to can Cable.

At first glance, losing so many players seems to be nothing short of a tragedy, until you realize how much money will be freed up to sign new players in 2011.

The 2011 season will mark the first year the Raiders are no longer responsible for paying JaMarcus Russell and with Nnamdi Asomugha's contract becoming void, that clears up at least $16.85 million, if not more.

When you add up all of the contracts that the Raiders are no longer responsible for: Nnamdi Asomugha $16 million, Robert Gallery $6 million, Tom Cable $2.5 million and numerous others. The totals add up to over $60 million.

Clearly, the Raiders are clearing up cap space for something, but what?

Some have suspected Al is bracing for a lockout in 2011. Players and coaches will be paid any guaranteed money whether there is football or not in 2011. In the case that there is a lockout, Al will look like a genius for saving $60 million-plus.

On the bright side, though, if there is football in 2011, Davis now has $60 million-plus to sign whoever he damn well pleases. The free agent list heading into 2011 includes names like Peyton Manning, Michael Vick, Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Jared Gaither, Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Haloti Ngata, Tamba Halli, Dhani Jones, Champ Bailey, Antonio Cromartie and numerous others.

Go ahead and scratch Peyton Manning off the list, as Colts management has already stated they plan on making him the highest paid player in the league.

Expect Davis and the Raiders to make a lot of noise in free agency this offseason.

I, for one, am expecting the Raiders to revamp the O-line as nearly the Raiders entire offensive line becomes free agents in 2011. The only players on the offensive line under contract for the Raiders in 2011 are Jared Veldheer, Bruce Campbell and Cooper Carlisle (unfortunately).

Out of all of the offensive linemen becoming FAs in 2011, I wouldn't expect very many to return.

The Raiders can also use that $60 million to re-sign some of their own free agents like Zack Miller, Nnamdi Asomugha, Michael Bush, Richard Seymour, Stanford Routt, John Henderson, Daniel Loper, Michael Huff, Thomas Howard and maybe Jarvis Moss.

In my opinion, the rest of the Raiders FAs aren't worth resigning.

In the past, many have called Al Davis crazy and senile. They have criticized him for overpaying free agents and have said that he no longer has what it takes to run an NFL franchise.

Davis has made the mistake of overpaying FAs like Randy Moss, Warren Sapp and Daunte Hall, but he has also brought in players like Rich Gannon, Richard Seymour and Kamerion Wimbley.

In 2011, with over $60 million at his disposal, get ready to see Davis at his best—or maybe at his worst.