By Steve Corkran
Monday, July 9th, 2012 at 3:43 pm in Oakland Raiders.
First-year general manager Reggie McKenzie described talks between the Raiders and strong safety Tyvon Branch’s agent about a long-term contract as ongoing. The two sides have less than a week to get past the open-dialogue phase.
Players who receive the franchise-tag designation have until July 16 to sign a long-term deal or else they are locked into a one-year deal until the regular season ends.
The Raiders slapped the franchise tag on Branch earlier this offseason, which Branch signed. That obligates the Raiders to pay Branch $6.2 million this season.
So, why the urgency to get a long-term deal? Several reasons come into play.
First, Branch would like the security of knowing where he’s going to play beyond 2012, as well as the potential to bank a sizable signing bonus. From the Raiders standpoint, they wouldn’t mind locking up a player in his prime and freeing up much-needed salary-cap room.
As it stands, the Raiders are less than $1 million under the salary cap. Branch’s $6.2 million already has been accounted for. So, if the Raiders sign him to a long-term deal, they could free up, say, as much as $5.5 million.
If the two sides aren’t able to hammer out a deal within the next week, they could revisit the issue at season’s end. The clock is ticking.