Have you seen that show “Hoarders”?
It’s quickly becoming one of my favorites. The formula is the same for each episode: they show you someone’s house that’s become overrun with trash, food, or really anything. Then, after much drama, you get to see them re-capture their lives by trashing-out their houses.
The process helps the people re-claim their lives, and it’s always satisfying to see them happier at the end than they were at the beginning, even though the process itself can be a tough experience.
The program shows us that sometimes you get to a point in life where the best thing to do is to just back up the dumpster and throw everything out, get yourself a fresh start.
The new NFL CBA, and its salary cap, can end up being just as good for a perennially underachieving team like the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders have spent the better part of a decade hoarding assets that seemed valuable at the time, but now are starting to clutter up the house to the point where you can’t find the couch anymore.
As of Thursday morning Oakland is $15.25 million over the cap, the most of any team in the league. They have some serious house cleaning to do, but as “Hoarders” has taught us it can be a good thing to be forced to get rid of some stuff.
I think this round of house cleaning could be the start of a new life for the Oakland Raiders and their fans.
So with that in mind here are the players that the Raiders should cut or restructure their deals in order to get under the new salary cap.
One quick note before we begin, all the salary numbers are the best I could find and I in no way can attest that they are 100 percent accurate. I found what I could then got tired of staring at Google searches, apparently it’s easier to find directions to build a space station than it is to get up to date NFL salary cap numbers.
Then again, it might be easier to build a space station then it is to understand how the salary cap works. Oh well. If you can find a more accurate figure than I have let us know in the comment section.
2011 Salary Cap Number: $2.6 Million
If I’m looking to clean house, one of the first places I look at is the kicker position.
Despite the fact that Janikowski has been one of the better kickers in the league for the past few seasons, it’s important to remember that the fact remains that he’s a kicker.
There are plenty of kickers out there that could be brought in at a fraction of Janikowski’s $2.6 million cap number. They might be a slight downgrade, but the savings will be well worth it.
Time to throw Seabass back in the ocean.
2011 Salary Cap Number: $10 Million
The Raiders just gave Routt a three-year, $31.5 million deal to in February, a deal that includes a $10 million cap hit this season.
He was third last season in something called “Corner Success Rate” according to Football Outsiders. Now, granted, I have absolutely no idea what that means, but it sounds fancy and it ranked Revis No. 1, so it can’t be completely wrong.
Good defensive backs are worth money in today’s NFL, but $10 million for a guy with only six career interceptions seems a little steep.
Oakland should do what it can to restructure the deal to help get under the cap in 2011.
2011 Salary Cap Number: $3.2 Million
This one floored me. A punter making $3.2 million? Really? Is his brother-in-law the guy in charge of handing out salaries in Oakland or something?
Now I know a punter can be an important part of a football team, and on rare occasions can even contribute to the difference between winning and losing a game.
But you know who makes a bigger difference between winning and losing every single week in the NFL? Every other player on the entire roster, that’s who.
Find someone for league minimum who can kick the ball maybe three yards less than Lechler can. I’d trade those few yards of field position for, say, a better quarterback.
2011 Salary Cap Number: $2.5 Million
I hate to see a guy named Cooper go, but these are tough times.
Carlisle is a good NFL guard, but unfortunately for him guard is another one of those positions that you can usually find a competent player in the free agent pool.
At a cap number of $2.5 million, the Raiders could replace him with a younger player who would cost less. The production of the field would suffer, but I would rather have to lose a guard than one of the more important offensive line positions like left tackle or center.
2011 Salary Cap Number: $2 Million
Another good place to look to save some money can be in the defensive backfield. There are constantly decently mediocre safeties and corners coming out of college who could fill a backup role without costing much money.
Eugene has had an uninspiring career in Oakland, and his production could be replaced with a younger player who may end up having better long term potential. At 30 years old, Eugene isn’t going to get any better and is closer to hitting the wall where defensive backs lose a step than he is to being at his athletic prime.
$2 million is just too much of a cap number for a reserve player on the backside of his career. Time to go young with this roster slot.
2011 Salary Cap Number: $5.5 Million
Tommy Kelly is a big man, with an equally big cap hit for the Raiders this season.
Kelly is coming off a solid effort in 2010 with 60 tackles and seven sacks. He has plenty to contribute this season but his cap number makes him a serious liability.
Oakland can probably not afford to cut him, considering that his backup will also make an appearance on this list a little later on, but the team will need to restructure this deal to make it more cap friendly in 2011.
2011 Salary Cap Number: $7 Million
I know, I know, McFadden is one of the better young ball carriers in the league and could be poised to really have a coming out party this year.
That being said, $7 million is just too much of your cap to spend on a running back not named Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson.
It’s proven year after year in the NFL that there are plenty of capable running backs to be found, and the difference between a super talented guy like McFadden and an undrafted rookie free agent isn’t very much.
I wouldn’t cut McFadden right away, but if he wasn’t willing to restructure then off he goes. Remember, starting fresh means making tough choices.
2011 Salary Cap Number: $2.5 Million
I told you we were going to get to Tommy Harris’ backup. Congratulations for making it this far.
This time the move is to cut bait and replace the veteran player with a cheaper, younger model.
Henderson has played well in spurts, but he can’t be counted on to consistently contribute, and a cap number of $2.5 million should be reserved for those who can.
Oakland could keep Henderson on the roster if he is willing to take a massive paycut, but usually veterans aren’t. If that’s the case, then it’s time for the team to let him go.