The Raiders are not only out $20 million in actual dollars for the 16 games played by DeAngelo Hall and Javon Walker, but will also see both players take up a good chunk of salary cap space in 2009.
With Hall having been waived, the Raiders will have $5.833,334 in “dead money” under the 2009 cap, according to league figures.
Walker, who underwent surgery Friday to have two screws interseted in his ankle, might end up sticking around for at least another year simply to avoid the bonus acceleration that would come with his release.
According to the wording of his contract, “Club agrees that it will pay Player the Roster Bonus despite the fact that, Player, due to an injury suffered while practicing or playing with Club in the immediate prior contract year.”
That essentially guarantees the Raiders will have to pay a $5 million bonus, unless they want to argue that Walker has completely recovered from surgery and is healthy. That road could be perilous. Players for the most part don’t care if Al Davis occasionally battles with coaches over money.
But after the Hall contract dump, if the Raiders were to attempt to skirt an injury guarantee, Davis’ reputation as a player’s owner would take a huge hit.
There is already some grumbling among agents that they will attempt to convince their clients not to go to Oakland. The same grumbling existed last year, and it didn’t matter because the Raiders were throwing money around and both players and agents were only to glad to take it in the form of bonuses and commissions.
The landscape could change if the perception of dysfunction carries over to the matter of actual dollars in the pockets of the players.
Assuming the Raiders pay the $5 millon bonus and make good on the injury guarantee, Walker’s salary cap figure will be $10,833,333, including $4 million in salary.
Should Oakland pay the guarantee as stipulated and then cut Walker, the 2009 cap charge $14,166,667 to terminate the relationship. Combined with the Hall dead money, that’s $20 million in dead money.
The Raiders could also attempt to get Walker to take less money, as done in the past with players such as LaMont Jordan who didn’t play up to their contract standards. Walker would be under no obligation to do so and would be made aware by his agent of the bind the Raiders would be in should he be waived.
The 2009 cap has not been set, but was $116 million in 2008 and has risen $7 million in each of the last two years.