Kamerion Wimbley was perhaps one of the most underrated and least talked about additions to the Oakland Raiders this past season.
When the Raiders decided that their fast but undersized linebacking core was not playing well enough, they went out and traded for linebackers Kamerion Wimbley and Quentin Groves and drafted middle linebacker Rolando McClain. While McClain was the most talked about of this group, Wimbley was the player who made the biggest difference for the Raiders in 2010.
Wimbley was acquired from the Cleveland Browns for a third-round draft pick and in his first season with the Raiders showed what a steal that trade was for the Raiders.
When he was first traded, coaches who routinely played the Browns were happy to see him go and during this offseason, members of the Raider Nation were happy to hear he was going to stay.
In 2010, Wimbley not only impressed with his stats, 58 tackles, one pass defended, one forced fumble and nine sacks, but also with his versatility playing some defensive end when Trevor Scott went down late in the season. The Oakland Raiders defensive front seven played much better in 2010 than it had in years, and it was in a large part due to the play of Kamerion Wimbley.
With the massive number of Oakland Raiders players who are expected to hit the free agent market this offseason, many believe that there is simply no way the Raiders will be able to keep them all. Then, a couple of weeks ago, news came out that one of those expected to hit free agency, Kamerion Wimbley, actually had a clause in his contract that would allow the Raiders to buy his contract back for one more season, acting like a club option.
Is Kamerion Wimbley a must sign for the Raiders to build off of the success from 2010?
This obviously excited Raider fans, as they now knew that the Raiders would be able to keep Wimbley without worries of another team outbidding the Raiders for his services.
This potential for good news became actual good news when the Raiders exercised their option late last night, re-signing Wimbley to the Raiders for the 2011 season (if there is one).
The good news, however, was not long lived. Late last night, Football News Now reported that the option exercised by the Raiders might actually be invalid, meaning that Wimbley will be declared a free agent once the new CBA is worked out.
According to FNN, the option exercised by the Raiders would violate the NFL's 30 percent rule, which states that a player cannot receive a pay jump of more than 30 percent from one year to the next. For Wimbley, this would mean that the most he could make in 2011 would be $2.75 million, but the option exercised by the Raiders would result in Wimbley being paid $3.5 million.
I do not know the specifics of the 30 percent rule, but if the report by FNN is true, the Raiders would be wise not to assume that Wimbley is locked up. The guy played like a stud last season and is a key part to ensuring that the Raiders continue to improve.
While it seems odd that an agent and a team would negotiate for a clause in a contract that would blatantly violate league rules, the Raiders might want to avoid any potential controversy or drama by locking Wimbley up long-term right now. We all know he is worth it.