The Oakland Raiders will enter the offseason with an abundance of cap space and can free up even more via restructuring some contracts and letting some underperformers go. That doesn’t mean they should be reckless when it comes to money; if anything, they should spend with discretion.
The Raiders will have $48 million in cap space, an adequate amount to spend on a couple free agent additions. Also, they don’t have to re-sign any key players… because they don’t have any awaiting the free agent market. It would be a good problem to have if they had some playmakers, but it works in their favor too as Oakland has a young nucleus and it will be at least a couple of years before they start contract talks.
Furthermore, they could cut a couple of players whose performance isn’t on par with their contracts. Gabe Jackson and Lamarcus Joyner come to mind. The Raiders don’t owe any guaranteed money to the guard, so they can release him without any cap penalties. Likewise, the safety could be cut with no financial repercussions whatsoever.
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It may be argued that Oakland can afford their salaries, but that’s not the point. The team must not pay premium for underachievers when they can get similar production at a lower cost.
Ok, the Raiders cut both players, now what?
Tackle Trent Brown has played well, but a team should not pay $ 20 million for a serviceable performance, which is what the Raiders are going to invest on the veteran next year. They have to be patient and wait for the second wave of free agency; players can be had for a bargain price once all shiny acquisition have been signed. Richie Incognito comes to mind. He had baggage and was a question mark coming into the season, but the guard makes peanuts compare to what Brown makes. Incognito is not the only example either.
This past offseason, the Buccaneers signed Shaquil Barret to a one-year deal and quickly established himself as the heart and soul of that Tampa team. Josh Bynes was overshadowed this past free agency period by C.J. Mosley, who got the robust contract but hasn’t lived up to him. The former is performing well for them at a fraction of the prize.
Having money is good, possesing both money and cap space is even better, which is how the Raiders have to feel nowadays. Now, it’s just a matter of them allocating those assets into difference makers that might not be flashy but will make up for it by solidifying the Silver and Black young core already in place.
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