- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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On one hand, Oakland Raiders’ owner Al Davis deserves credit for being proactive prior to the lockout and signing several players to extensions.
However, there were built-in risks. Davis committed a load of money to 2011 without knowing the salary-cap rules.
That’s why ESPN’s John Clayton ranked the Raiders as one of the teams in the worst position heading into free agency. Clayton ranked the Raiders third on his list as being in a bad spot prior to the start of free agency as far as the salary cap goes.
Here is Clayton’s reasoning: Davis was aggressive in re-signing eight players for contracts totaling $85.48 million. But if the cap is at $120 million, the Raiders may have issues. If new cap rules exclude some $26 million in "dead" money for players whose contracts were voided to make them free agents this year that would help. If accounting rules include the "dead" money, the Raiders would be $14.78 million over the cap and would have to cut some players. Their payroll of $103.2 million isn't out of line, but the "dead" money issue could cause them problems if it isn't cleared up.
Again, the Raiders were in a tough spot. They had a ton of free agents and they secured the likes of Richard Seymour, Stanford Routt, Kamerion Wimbley and John Henderson, among others. But it may be difficult to keep free agents Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller, Michael Huff and Michael Bush as a result. It could also be difficult for Oakland to add outside free agents.
The Raiders knew they were taking a risk extending the players they did prior to the lockout. But teams can’t keep everyone and the Raiders made their decisions on their priority free agents. So, as a result, the Raiders’ offseason movement period may be complete for the most part because of the possible salary-cap realities.
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