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Friday, February 20, 2009
Raiders begin purge

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The bill for Shane Lechler and Nnamdi Asomugha started to arrive in Oakland on Friday as the team cut three players.

Out are receiver Ronald Curry, defensive end Kalimba Edwards and safety Gibril Wilson. Wilson's release was the most surprising.

Wilson was signed to a lucrative deal by the Raiders last year as part of a wild spending spree and was productive last season. He had 129 tackles, which was the ninth most in the league.

Edwards was fairly productive in his first season in Oakland after signing as a free agent from Detroit. He had five sacks. Curry's release was not a surprise. He didn't make an impact on a receiving crew that was desperate for production.

This may be the just the beginning of the purge in Oakland. The Raiders were not in great salary cap shape before this week's blockbuster deals given to Lechler and Asomugha. Lechler signed a four-year deal that will pay him $16 million and make him the highest paid punter in the history of the NFL. Asomugha signed a three-year, $45 million-plus deal that makes him one of the richest players in the league.

These were two important signings for Oakland but the deals were costly for the team. Other players such as left tackle Kwame Harris and receiver Javon Walker could be next. However, cutting Walker would be a big cap hit for Oakland.

Wilson and Edwards could attract interest on the open market now that they are free agents. Wilson will likely attract more immediate interest. It wouldn't be a shock if Denver or San Diego shows interest in him.