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Get ready for the myth of the salary cap

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, February 10th, 2012 at 11:30 am in Oakland Raiders.

There have already been some references nationally to the Raiders’ release of Stanford Routt and how it relates to the salary cap.

It doesn’t.

The whole term “cap-related” is a myth, as Tim Brown once explained to me years ago.

It’s never the productive player that gets released. It is the one the club deems to be overpaid, with the player determining he’d rather move on and cash a check somewhere else rather than take a salary the team feels is more in line with his contribution.

We’ve been hearing for years about all the damage the Raiders have been doing to their financial structure in terms of the salary cap, yet through it all, it never stopped Al Davis from spending as much money as he saw fit to bring in players.

The problem was never the cap, it was the players he selected and the sometimes inflated salaries he paid them.

Routt’s release had to do with general manager Reggie McKenzie thinking the compensation was, as he put it on Jan. 30, “out of whack.”

We’ll find out soon what other salaries are out of whack, and with the end result of players being whacked from the roster.

The two highest paid players in terms of salary are Carson Palmer ($12.5 million) and outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley ($11 million). McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen both spoke glowingly of Palmer on Jan. 30. Hard to see him going anywhere, especially with Cincinnati selecting at No. 17 as a result, with second-round pick likely coming next season.

Wimbley had seven sacks after posting nine in 2010, but four of those came in a single monster game in a 24-17 win over the Chargers in San Diego. He was among the NFL leaders in pressures according to some stat-keeping services.

Linebacker Aaron Curry, acquired by trade, has a $5.7 million salary the Raiders surely never intended to pay next season. It will be up to McKenzie and Allen to make an offer to bring him back.

As for Michael Huff (due $8 million this season in roster bonus and salary), Tommy Kelly ($6 million in salary) and Richard Seymour ($15 million, half of it guaranteed), only McKenzie and Allen know for sure.

If the Raiders make moves with any of these players, it will have everything to do with production and little or nothing to do with the salary cap.

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