Conventional wisdom over the past few years is that the Raiders are hurting financially.
They added new investors a couple of years back. They’re playing before crowds in the 30,000-range. Forbes magazine ranked Oakland 32nd in 2009 in terms of franchise value.
But as free agency opens at 9 p.m. tonight on the West Coast, never underestimate Davis’ ability to strike for a player he really wants.
The Raiders spend little on P.R., support staff and look to cut corners in every way possible except the acquisition of talent.
Here’s just some of the money the Raiders are scheduled to pay out this year:
— More than $16 million in bonuses and salary to Nnamdi Asomugha. (His salary is only $775,000).
— $12.38 million to Richard Seymour as the exclusive franchise player.
— $9.45 million to JaMarcus Russell.
— $5.75 million to safety Michael Huff.
— $4.5 million to defensive tackle Tommy Kelly.
— $3.268 million to first- and third round tender corner Stanford Routt.
— $2.6 million to cornerback Chris Johnson.
— $2.6 million to wide receiver Javon Walker (guaranteed _ they pay it even if they cut him).
— $2.6 million to Shane Lechler and $2 million to Sebastian Janikowski
— $2.5 million to defensive end Greg Ellis.
— Just under $7 million to second-round tender free agents Bruce Gradkowski, Thomas Howard, Jon Condo and Hiram Eugene.
— A little over $2.5 million to Kirk Morrison if he doesn’t come back with an offer sheet.
That’s nearly $60 million spent on 16 players on what will eventually be a 53-man roster, and doesn’t even include bonus payments which aren’t available to the likes of Darren McFadden and Robert Gallery. McFadden’s salary is $470,000 and Gallery’s $1.6 million. Nor does it include what it will take to pay the No. 8 overall pick in the NFL draft.
ESPN is reporting the possible demise of Justin Fargas and Gerard Warren because of upcoming bonus payments, although don’t rule out the possibility of one or both remaining with the team, either signing after being cut or adjusting their scheduled bonuses.
There is no salary cap, so Davis can spend as much as he wants, and at least Raiders fans won’t have to concern themselves with an owner saving up his cash for the lockout 2011 lockout.
The point is this _ if Davis is even thinking about inserting himself into the Julius Peppers sweepstakes, which begin in a few hours, or has his eyes on Karlos Dansby, let’s dispense with the stories about how the Raiders don’t have enough cash on hands to compete with the higher revenue teams.