Raiders Heading Into 2014 with over $60 million in Cap Space, How Can They Spend It?
Elias Trejo – Dec 16, 2013
After several weeks of reading and doing research on how the NFL Salary Cap works I can easily say that I have a lot more reading and understanding to do before I become a GM of an NFL team. Either that or I need to hire a salary cap expert to analyze and work in all of my signings. I did however spend a few hours trying to figure out how the Raiders can spend the majority of their money this offseason to help improve their roster. I'll break it down into 3 parts and try to simplify the process to help the average reader understand and grasp how we can use the money and where it will go.
The Raiders will go into the offseason well under the cap as their top 51 players will account for just over $49 million according to overthecap.com. They also will carry just over $9 million in dead money heading into the 2014 season. That alone is a major improvement compared to 2013. Here is where the fun begins.
Resigning Players: Budget Around $27 Million
The Raiders will have almost half of their roster eligible for free agency in 2014. I have Oakland bringing back roughly nine of them, but can see them bringing back aroud 12. I myself would only do nine. Half of their budget should go to bringing guys back.
These are the players I would bring back myself: Lamarr Houston, Jared Veldheer, Rashad Jennings, Mike Jenkins, Tracy Porter, Tony Pashos, Pat Sims, Charles Woodson and Usama Young. Guys that are on the bubble that may be back, Chimdi Chekwa, Philip Adams, Kaelin Burnett and Daniel Muir.
I used a budget of $30 million to sign these guys. $12.5 million of which is being used on a franchise tag for Houston. Veldheer would get a four year $32 Million contract with a $4 million signing bonus and $13 million guaranteed, which would be similar to Jake Long's contract. Jennings would sign a three year $8 million dollar contract, which would be less than Reggie Bush's 2013 contract but more than a guy like Mike Goodson with the Jets. Jennings has earned a new deal with the Raiders.
The other contracts for the players are fair market value and in some cases higher than what the market has been doing. I've taken into account inflation of the salary cap and market as well. Keeping the secondary will be important so paying a little more for Jenkings to stay would be necessary. I think Oakland can keep around 9-12 players using $30 million or less.
Draft Picks: Budget $10 Million
Odds are the Raiders will spend just under $10 million dollars for their draft picks because of the rookie scale. The closer we get to the end of the season the more realstic a top 5 pick seems likely. This means Oakland could be drafting a player like Teddy Bridgewater, JaDeveon Clowney, Derek Carr, or Anthony Barr.
The first round pick will take up about 40% of the 2014 cap space, and the other draft picks will take up 60%. It will be interesting to see another draft under the Reggie McKenzie Era.
New Players: Budget around $27 Million
McKenzie has not signed anyone to a big money deal yet, and a big part of the reason is because he hasn't been able to. This year he will have an opportunity to hand out a big money contract. Now if McKenzie has the Packer mentality he may not go crazy on day one. However, I think McKenzie should go after one big name or two. This is how I would play it.
Brian Orakpo is a free agent and is only 27 years old. Teaming him up with Houston along the defensive line would be special. He's been moved to linebacker in Washington, but could he see success as a defensive end? If the Raiders don't want to bank on Clowney, Orakpo could be a viable option. My best case scenario? Draft Clowney, move Houston to the middle of the line and put Orakpo at defensive end. How good does that sound?
A deal for Orakpo would probably be around 5 years and up to $70 million with $40 million guaranteed. That's a steep price to pay, but he may be worth it. His cap hit would most likely be around $10 million, giving Oakland $17 million left to spend.
Another $8-$12 million can net a player like Jay Cutler, but is using $20 million of 2014's cap space worth it for 2 players? If you think the Raiders are a quarterback and pass rusher away from competing it may very well be. This roster still lacks strong talent on the top of the roster. It lacks a real game changer and Pro Bowl quality players. If Oakland spends their money wisely next season, they could see 3-4 game changers added to the roster.
Don't expect the Raiders to wait for the draft to make their moves. On March 11th, Oakland should be ready to compete and add players to this team.
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