As expected, the Raiders released veteran defensive backs Chris Johnson and Hiram Eugene. The moves save the Raiders approximately $6 million in salary cap space for 2012.
It’s conceivable that one or both players will be re-signed before the season starts. However, the Raiders had to come up with more cap space before the Mar. 13 deadline, and Johnson and Eugene offered obvious targets.
Eugene missed all of last season with a hip injury that he sustained in an exhibition game. Johnson suffered an injury in the regular-season opener, aggravated the injury soon thereafter and missed most of the season.
Both players carved out niches with the Raiders after arriving as free agents. Neither factored much into the Raiders fortunes last season, and they aren’t expected to be key roles moving forward, either.
Cutting Eugene and Johnson are the latest in a series of moves designed to remedy a serious overage on the cap for 2012. The Raiders entered the week some $28 million over — including the $6.2 allotted for safety Tyvon Branch via the franchise tag. They shaved $21 million or so by restructuring the contracts of quarterback Carson Palmer, defensive tackle Richard Seymour and free safety Michael Huff.
In other words, the Raiders are just about in compliance with the league-mandated amount. Even so, they still need to free up quite a bit more money so that they can be active in free agency and sign their 2012 draft picks.
Much of that can be taken care of by cutting defensive tackle John Henderson ($4 million) and restructuring the contract of linebacker Kamerion Wimbley ($11 million salary for 2012).
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