Raiders have little cap space breathing room

Raiders have little cap space breathing room
March 25, 2012, 5:51 pm
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Reggie McKenzie has taken a methodical, almost Moneyball-esque approach to free agency in his first run as the Raiders' new general manager.After sitting out the initial wave, by both design and budget, McKenzie began addressing team needs with the signings of cornerbacks Ronald Bartell and Shawntae Spencer and offensive lineman Mike Brisiel and re-signing the right side of the Raiders' offensive line, Cooper Carlise and Khalif Barnes.Now? Expect more of the wait-and-see approach by McKenzie, though former 49ers outside linebacker Manny Lawson has been linked to the Raiders to replace Kamerion Wimbley.According to documents obtained by CSNCalifornia.com, the Raiders currently have less than 3.72 million in salary cap room for 2012.Consider: Oakland currently has contracts worth a total team cap of 119,939,061. But the carryover of 3,077,427 from 2011 added to the NFL's 2012 salary cap of 120,600,000 (plus an "adjustment" of 18,400), is what has the Raiders 3,719,966 under the cap at the moment.And that's before factoring in a contract with former Green Bay cornerback Pat Lee, with whom McKenzie is still negotiating. Or signing any other free agents. Or contemplating any draft picks.Of course, there are ways to get more room, though it's the equivalency of credit card spending.Negotiating a long-term deal with strong safety Tyvon Branch, who was slapped with the one-year, 6.212-million franchise tag, would offer relief. As would restructuring the likes of defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (he has a cap number of 8.874.266 million), running back Darren McFadden (9.458.833 million) or receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (8.159 million).