How much cap space does Branch deal afford Raiders?

July 18, 2012, 4:11 pm
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Tyvon Branch's new four-year contract has a salary cap number of 2.4 million for the 2012 season, according to a league source, giving the Raiders a total of 5.159 million in cap space 10 days before players begin reporting to Napa for training camp.Oakland had a reported 1.34 million in space before the Branch deal.The strong safety's new contract is worth 26.6 million with 17.6 million guaranteed, including a 5.6-million signing bonus. But while his deal offers cap relief for this year -- dropping from the franchise tag of 6.212 million to the 2.4 million -- Branch's cap number for 2013 jumps to 10.9 million.Cap space for this year would seemingly give the Raiders room to approach a veteran free agent such as running back Cedric Benson andor middle linebackers E.J. Henderson or Gary Brackett.The Raiders still have two unsigned draft picks in third-round offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom and fifth-round compensatory pick and receiver Juron Criner, though with the formula of only the top 51 salaries counting against the cap at the moment, their eventual signings should not affect the number all that much.