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McKenzie’s still a year away from rebuilding Raiders

Mark Davis, Reggie McKenzie

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis, left, talks with general manager Reggie McKenzie before an NFL preseason football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Aug. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)


Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is obviously a man of faith.

Why else would he have taken on a rebuilding project that would take two years before he could afford to buy the tools needed to do the job?

When the Raiders waived linebacker Rolando McClain yesterday, they did not apply the June 1 designation to spread the salary cap hit over two years.

By doing so, they pushed their dead money to around than $45 million, according to Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group. That’s more than a third of this year’s salary cap for players no longer there to “help.”

Dead money’s the accelerated bonus for traded or released players, and the Raiders have a pile of it.

McClain joins big dead money drags including defensive tackles Richard Seymour ($13.714 million) and Tommy Kelly ($6.324 million), quarterback Carson Palmer ($9.34 million) and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey ($5.260 million).

Coupled with their aggressive giving away of draft picks (including their 2011 first for Seymour, their 2012 first and 2013 second for Palmer), the Raiders are in this mess for a good reason.

Aside from the second-rounder that Cincinnati still owns, the Raiders are also short a fifth-rounder this year for the ill-fated Aaron Curry deal, but other than that, they’re no longer giving away premium picks. The 2014 fifth-rounder and conditional 2015 seventh from the Matt Flynn deal is all they’ve traded away from future drafts.

Once McKenzie’s actually able to do his job, he might be able to build something. After clearing the books this year, the Raiders are expected to have around $50 million in salary cap space.

And if he’s judged before he’s able to use it, the organizational problems in Oakland might be too big for anyone to overcome.