ESPN reported earlier this month that the Raiders were $11 million over the projected salary cap for 2012. Now comes a report from ProFootballTalk.com that the Raiders are more than $25 million over the expected figure.
The ProFootballTalk.com report pegs the Raiders at $145.7 million for their top 51 salaried players, the ones who count toward the cap for now. The projected cap is slightly more than $120 million, much the same as last season.
By comparison, the Super Bowl champion New York Giants are the next most-cash-strapped team, at more than $129 million for their top 51 players.
As daunting as it seems, the Raiders still can get under the cap without much heavy lifting by the time they are required to do so, March 13, the day free agency starts.
For example, the Raiders could get quarterback Carson Palmer to restructure a contract that calls for him to earn $12.5 million in 2012 so that his cap hit drops to $2 million, in exchange for more money down the road, perhaps another year tacked on to his deal, too.
They also could get defensive tackle Richard Seymour to do the same thing, lessening by quite a bit his $15 million tag for 2012.
Finally, they can carry over $3.23 million in leftover cap room from 2011, which would cut into the $25 million with the stroke of the pen and a notification to the league office.
It isn’t pretty on paper, sure, but the Raiders never have had an issue finding creative ways to free up cap room. Some of those same people remain in the organization. It’s just that, they are going to have to work harder and longer this season than they did, say, two years ago.
In other words, expect to hear a ton of gloom and doom in the coming days, only to learn that the Raiders reached cap compliance by March 13 without the sky falling.
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