Which big contracts will Raiders restructure?


Which big contracts will Raiders restructure?

Figures obtained by have shown that the Raiders currently have 145,774,984 earmarked towards the 2012 salary cap and, when you subtract the 3.23 million they can roll over from 2011, Oakland is sitting at 142,514,984.The NFL's 2012 salary cap has yet to be announced, though it is thought to be near last year's cap of 120.375 million. All of which means the Raiders -- specifically new general manager Reggie McKenzie and finance officer Marc Badain -- have some serious accounting to do to shed some approximate 22 million before the deadline of March 13.RELATED: Raiders have more than 145 million in contracts
"I would say 'challenges' is the proper word," new Raiders coach Dennis Allen said last week at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. "It's nothing that can't be overcome. And I think we look forward to the challenge. Nothing in life that is ever worth anything comes easy. We really feel that way.
"Somebody told a long time ago that tough times don't last but tough people do. That's what we're trying to do. We're going to everything we can to put the best team on the field. Whatever those challenges that might come our way, we're going to have to navigate through them."McKenzie, at the media conference announcing Allen's hiring on Jan. 30, spoke of "out of whack" contracts with which he'd have to deal."But in my discussions and viewing the cap situation, we should be fine," McKenzie said at the time. "At this point, in talking to our guys and seeing all the spreadsheets and stuff, we're going to be fine."A closer look at some of the Raiders' contracts seems to bear that out. We have already published the names and numbers of the 16 players who have cap numbers of at least 3.3 million for 2012, including the recently-cut Stanford Routt.It is easier, though, and gives teams more flexibility to re-structure contracts, when a majority of said players' cap number is wrapped up in base salary.Quarterback Carson Palmer is a great candidate to be re-structured, given that all of his 12.5 million cap number is in base salary, and that he still has two more years left on his contract with 13 million and 15 million due in base salary in 2013 and 2014, respectively.RELATED: Carson Palmer career stats 2011 game logs splits
Same for linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, what with 11 million of his 11.85-million cap number in base salary. His base salaries for 2013, 2014 and 2015 are 11, 10 and 11.5 million with cap numbers of 11.85, 10.85 and 12.35 million.
RELATED: Kamerion Wimbley career stats 2011 game logs splits
And 6 million of defensive tackle Tommy Kelly's 8.874.266 cap number is base salary.
RELATED: Tommy Kelly career stats 2011 game logs splits
Yet while all of linebacker Aaron Curry's 5.757.500 cap number is in base salary, the Raiders would have to extend him to re-do his figures as he is entering the final year of his contract.Free safety Michael Huff, meanwhile, has a base salary of 4 million, with a 4 million roster bonus and a cap number of 9.828.75 for each of the next three years.Another look then, at the 16 Raiders with a cap figure of at least 3.3 million, and their base salaries for 2012Player 2012 Salary Cap Number, in millions (base salary)TE Kevin Boss 4.75 (2)OG Cooper Carlisle 3.3 (3)LB Aaron Curry 5.757.5 (5.757.5)DT John Henderson 4.75 (4)WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 8.159 (5.279)FS Michael Huff 9.828.75 (4)PK Sebastian Janikowski 4.5 (1.7)CB Chris Johnson 4.5 (3.5)DT Tommy Kelly 8.874.266 (6)P Shane Lechler 4.9 (3.8)LB Rolando McClain 3.64 (970,000)RB Darren McFadden 9.478.833 (5.65)QB Carson Palmer 12.5 (12.5)CB Stanford Routt 10.785.334 (5)DT Richard Seymour 14.068 (7.5)LB Kamerion Wimbley 11.85 (11)

Days after signing with Raiders, NaVorro Bowman expected to play vs Chiefs


Days after signing with Raiders, NaVorro Bowman expected to play vs Chiefs

ALAMEDA – NaVorro Bowman was a sponge this week, absorbing the Raiders defense as quickly as possible.

The veteran inside linebacker signed with the Raiders Monday afternoon and did enough to play Thursday night’s pivotal home game against Kansas City.

That’s a huge plus for a Raiders team looking to snap a four-game losing streak. Bowman should be able to help right away despite being new to the scheme.

“He’s a veteran. He understands ball,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said Wednesday. “We haven’t tried to install the entire playbook, but specific game plans and things. He’s had a good week. Even though it’s a short week, we feel good and he’ll play.”

He’ll probably start at inside linebacker and play the base defense as least. While many have criticized his speed and coverage skills diminished from major injuries, Bowman remains a sure tackler who can provide solid on-field leadership.

Veteran savvy and natural ability should carry Bowman while he masters a new scheme, allowing him to make the immediate impact required with the Raiders reeling at 2-4.

“He is very instinctive,” Del Rio said. "He’s a veteran guy that’s been there before. He understands what it looks like to lineup against a good football team and help us win.”

Bowman’s fresh and healthy, a step above his others at his position. Inside linebackers Cory James (knee), Marquel Lee (ankle) and Nicholas Morrow (ankle) are all questionable heading into Thursday’s game.

He has also been a willing teacher to a group of inside linebackers featuring a second-year pro and three rookies.

“They’re just soaking it up,” Del Rio said. “They’ll ask, ‘When do you lift? How often do you lift? When do you meet? When do you cover this?’ It’s good stuff to have for a really young group.”

In other injury news, right tackle Marshall Newhouse is out, leaving Vadal Alexander to start in his spot. David Sharpe should be the swing tackle in reserve.

Downing: Raiders offense off track, answers exist ‘in our scheme’


Downing: Raiders offense off track, answers exist ‘in our scheme’

ALAMEDA – Todd Downing has friends with fantasy football teams. Those faux general managers, like many across the roto world, took Raiders with high draft picks.

They would like to know why Derek Carr isn’t throwing touchdowns in bulk, Amari Cooper’s in a slump and Marshawn Lynch isn’t getting more carries.

“I have friends that have him on their fantasy team that are mad at me for that,” Downing said after Wednesday’s practice. “That’s part of the business.”

Ah, the life of an NFL coordinator. Players get credit when things go right. Play callers sit over a Bunsen burner the rest of the time.

Downing understands that part of this gig.

“I welcome the responsibility that this job has afforded me,” he said. “I understand that I’m going to have to deal with negative comments and consequences when things aren’t going well. I’m looking forward to standing up here in a more positive fashion some time soon.”

Positives were expected right away. He was given the keys to a Lamborghini with a franchise quarterback under center, 1,000-yard receivers on each flank, an older back considered among the best of his generation, and the NFL’s biggest and most expensive offensive line.

The Raiders ranked No. 6 in total offense before adding Lynch, tight end Jared Cook and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson in free agency. Now they’re 30th heading into Thursday night’s game against Kansas City.

The mob is lighting torches, armed with pitchforks. After six weeks.

Everyone has an opinion on what’s wrong and how to fix this offense. More interior runs, less outside zone. More play action, please. Go deep, a lot. Have Derek hold on to the ball longer. Have Derek get rid of it quick. Do all that at once. Do it now.

Downing’s going to stick with his system. The Raiders will stick with their process, thank you very much, with faith that things will turn.

“When you look at the tape, you can see that we’re so close on so many things,” Downing said. “I know that sounds cliché and I know that sounds like someone sitting up here and trying to give you the rose-colored glasses, but it’s the truth. We know that we’re just this close to making a couple more plays each game and being able to come out on top and feeling like we put together a good product.

“…We’re looking for answers right now, but we know those answers exist in our room and in our scheme. Once we hit our stride, we’re excited to see what it looks like.”

There’s reason to believe that can happen. Take the season’s first two games, for example. The Raiders scored 71 points in that span. There’s talent everywhere in the starting lineup and behind it.

That’s why concern reigns during a four-game losing streak where the offense is averaging 13.1 points. They can’t sustain drives, come through on third down or block consistently in the run game. Their play count is dismally low. According to the Associated Press, the Raiders aver averaging 54 plays per game. Every other team has at least 60. The 2005 49ers were the last team that averaged such a sum. The Raiders haven’t had a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher or a 100-yard receiver.

Offense is blamed for a dismal 2-4 start. Even the universally beloved Carr has taken some heat for lackluster performances.

“I don’t think there’s a single guy that can look back over the last few weeks and say, ‘You know what, I’m really pleased with how I’ve played over the last three weeks,’ or, ‘Called the last three weeks’ or, ‘Coached my position the last three weeks.’ We all own this together,” Downing said. “There’s no one guy that is going to save it or break it or anything in between. We need to do this as a team and everybody needs to make the plays they’re afforded the opportunity to make and I need to call the right plays when afforded the opportunity to call them.”

The Raiders can and must do better before falling further. Righting the ship too late to reach the season’s goals might hurt as much as a completely dismal campaign.

Pressing, however, isn’t the answer.

“You do have to stay patient,” Downing said. “I tell the offense this every week, but it’s never been more true than where we’re at now as an offense. We have a belief in what we’ve done this far, and the system we’ve put in place, and the playmakers we have in that room, and the coaches that are up in the room with me, and you will never see me waiver in my belief of any single one of those guys, including myself. If I did, and I started acting different or started calling games differently, then that would mean I didn’t really believe in the first place.”