Gutierrez: Raiders scrambling to get under cap

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Gutierrez: Raiders scrambling to get under cap

Aug. 4, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVE
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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comIt's crunch time for the Raiders' bean counters.With a 1 p.m. PT deadline for Oakland to be under the NFL's 120-million salary cap, the Raiders are purportedly feverishly working to shed salary andor restructure contracts. Because according to ESPN, the Raiders "enter the day more than 15 million over the salary cap."In this unusual post-lockout landscape, the top 51-paid players' contracts on the roster form the payroll, which has to be under the "soft" cap, giving teams some 3 million in wiggle room. There is always a way around the cap, and if Al Davis wants a certain player, he generally gets him. A rare exception, of course, being tight end Zach Miller.As theorized here and in many corners of Silver and Blackdom, the Raiders could potentially cut some relatively big names or restructure the deals of big name contracts to get under. Of course, that would put significant pressure on future years.Richard Seymour (two years, 30 million with 22.5 million guaranteed) and Stanford Routt (three years, 31.5 million, 20 million guaranteed) are likely, if unusual candidates to be re-worked, since they both re-signed this offseason, before the lockout hit.Then there are guys like right guard Cooper Carlisle (due 2.5 million) and receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who got on the practice field for the first time this camp on Wednesday with an undisclosed injury.Oakland's pursuit of free agent tight end Kevin Boss seemingly hinges on its cap issues, even as the Raiders have signed a glut of players in recent days, including quarterback Trent Edwards and offensive linemen Justin Smiley and Samson Satele while re-signing linebacker Kamerion Wimbley to an extension with 29 million guaranteed and free safety Michael Huff to a 32-million over four years-deal.Of course, there is also a lot riding on the players union re-certifying itself today to get the league year officially started. Otherwise, no players, not just the veterans signed since the lockout ended, can practice today.

Raiders LT Donald Penn, WR Amari Cooper to skip Pro Bowl

Raiders LT Donald Penn, WR Amari Cooper to skip Pro Bowl

The Raiders had an NFL-best seven players on the initial Pro Bowl roster. The number planning to play in the league’s all-star game continues to dwindle.

That total's down to three after left tackle Donald Penn and receiver Amari Cooper bowed out. Penn won’t be ready after suffering a knee injury in the regular-season finale, an ailment that kept him out of a playoff loss at Houston. Cincinnati’s Andrew Whitworth will take Penn’s place.

Cooper battled a shoulder injury late last season, though it's uncertain exactly what is keeping him from the game. 

In addition to Penn and Cooper, Quarterback Derek Carr obviously can't play while recovering from surgery to repair a broken fibula. Edge rusher Khalil Mack also bowed out recently with what is believed to be a minor back injury.

There’s a possibility a fifth Raider will also excuse himself. Center Rodney Hudson suffered an ankle injury in the playoffs. It remains uncertain whether he’ll play in the Pro Bowl.

Safety Reggie Nelson and left guard Kelechi Osemele remain firmly in the fray at this stage. 

Source: Raiders, OL coach Mike Tice agree on new deal

Source: Raiders, OL coach Mike Tice agree on new deal

Mike Tice’s contract expired shortly after this season’s end, but there was strong belief he would retain his post with a new deal.

A league source confirmed Wednesday that a new deal was in place for Tice to remain with the Raiders. The exact length of the contract was not disclosed. Assistant coach contracts are typically set for two years, though they can be three in some cases.

Tice was the first assistant Jack Del Rio hired after being named Raiders head coach. The two are long-time friends, dating back to days playing for the Minnesota Vikings in the 1990s.

Tice was Del Rio’s assistant head coach for three seasons in Jacksonville, which made him a natural fit for a new project in Oakland. It was a smart hire. Tice has been excellent as Raiders offensive line coach, managing and scheming for one of the NFL’s best position groups.

ESPN first reported the Tice agreement.

While offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave was allowed to leave on an expired contract and is now Denver quarterbacks coach, the rest of the Raiders offensive staff remains intact.

Quarterbacks coach Todd Downing was promoted to offensive coordinator and his assistant Jake Peetz assumes his old post.

The Raiders still have a vacancy on the defensive side, with Marcus Robertson out and on to the Broncos staff.