- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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In their attempt to get under the salary cap, the Oakland Raiders have thrown down the gauntlet with one of their high-priced players.
NFL.com is reporting that a team source said linebacker Kamerion Wimbley will be cut if he doesn’t take a pay cut. That ultimatum to Wimbley isn't unexpected, but I’m not sure the tactic will work. Wimbley’s agent, Joe Linta, is not the type to blink. If he thinks the proposed pay cut is too steep and he thinks he can get his client a better contract on the open market, he will stand his ground and call the Raiders’ bluff.
Pass-rushers are always in demand on the open market. There would be interest in Wimbley in free agency. I could see the San Diego Chargers taking a look at Wimbley. Four of his seven sacks last season were against the Chargers in one game. Wimbley has 42.5 career sacks in six NFL seasons and 16 in the two seasons he has spent with the Raiders since being acquired in a trade with the Browns. Wimbley created solid pressure in 2011 despite average sack numbers.
Wimbley, who signed a lucrative extension in August, is due to make $11 million this season with $6.5 million in guarantees. The Raiders are most interested in lowering Wimbley’s cap number to help the team get under the salary cap. The Raiders are more than $20 million over the cap.
They may have to cut a player or two and it seems Wimbley is on that list if he is not open to restructuring. The Raiders cut cornerback Stanford Routt last month. Like Wimbley, Routt was given a hefty new contract last year by former owner Al Davis, who died in October. While the new Oakland regime is trying to get the team’s cap in order, it is also trying to keep quality players on a defense that already needs upgrades.
Losing Wimbley would hurt the Raiders but in seems they are prepared for the possibility.
In other AFC West news:
In a podcast, Mike & Mike discuss Tim Tebow’s chances of being the Broncos’ quarterback in 2012.
Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski will have to attend anger management issues stemming from a 2010 incident.
"First Take" discusses Tebow’s reported dinner date with Taylor Swift. Yes, "First Take" dishes on all things Tebow.
5dEric D. Williams