The Raiders, like many other teams, are working feverishly to be in compliance with the salary cap by the 1 p.m. deadline Friday (Note: a front-office person from another team said the date was pushed back 24 hours from the original date). Doing so requires plenty of creativity, a ton of phone calls and the willingness of players to do their part.
It will happen, just as it always does. The Raiders have been in this situation numerous times over the years, and they always found a way to make it work.
The mechanisms for shedding some liability for the current season is as simple as the old saying, robbing from Peter to pay Paul. In other words, the Raiders can restructure the contracts of high-salaried players such as cornerback Stanford Routt and defensive tackle Richard Seymour so that their cap hit for 2011 drops, in exchange for a greater liability in 2012 and, perhaps, beyond.
The Raiders used such a strategy in freeing up about $9 million in cap room by turning linebacker Kamerion Wimbley’s one-year, $11.3 million contract into a five-year deal with a significantly lower cap figure for this year.
Another common tool is converting part of a player’s contract into a roster bonus, with the player receiving the minimum salary this season and the remainder in the form of a roster bonus next year. The tradeoff is that the contract becomes guaranteed, even if the player gets cut.
Remember, if the Raiders were truly concerned about reaching cap compliance by the league-mandated deadline, they wouldn’t have brought in free agent tight end Kevin Boss for a visit the day before. There are people who get paid to massage, manipulate and manage the cap, just as their are coaches to instruct the players.
So, don’t expect the Raiders to start cutting players and/or stop signing free agents. Adding another player just means redoing another contract. The Raiders are among the best at this art.