Palmer joins Seymour, Huff in Silver and Black restructure conga line

696714.jpg

Palmer joins Seymour, Huff in Silver and Black restructure conga line

Add Carson Palmer to the list of Raiders veterans willing to restructure his contract to help alleviate the team's salary cap pressures.And, as an aside, put away those fanciful thoughts of Peyton Manning coming to Oakland.This is Palmer's team now and, with the team actually announcing the quarterback had joined defensive tackle Richard Seymour and free safety Michael Huff in the restructuring conga line, he's not going anywhere anytime soon.What was not disclosed, however, were the exact details of Palmer's restructuring. The Raiders do not discuss contract specifics and Palmer did not reply to a message seeking comment.But if general manager Reggie McKenzie followed the reported pattern he used for Seymour and Huff -- reducing their base salaries to their respected veteran minimums -- he would have cleared 7.725 million in cap space with the Palmer move. And, combined with the reported 11.82 million cleared by the Seymour and Huff restructurings, the Raiders could be looking at having shed some 19.545 million against the cap with the trio of actions.With 142,514,984 devoted to the 2012 salary cap entering the week, the Raiders would have been more than 22 million over the salary capif it remains the same as last year's number of 120.375 million. The cap for 2012, though, has yet to be announced, though there have been Internet rumblings it will be announced on Friday.In Palmer's case, restructuring his contract, which called for base salaries of 12.5 million this season, 13 million in 2013 and 15 million in 2014, might have been the easiest work of all, considering all of his money is in the form of base salary.Consider: if Palmer reduced his base salary for this upcoming season from 12.5 million to the 10-year vet minimum of 925,000 and converted the rest into a signing bonus, the difference of 11.575 million could be prorated and spread out evenly over the next three years in the form of 3.85 million once-a-year bonuses. That would translate to a new salary cap number for Palmer of 4.775 million for 2012, hence the savings of 7.725 million this season.
REPORT: Raiders restructure Seymour, Huff

Keep in mind, only the top 51 contracts count against the cap, and the franchise tag placed on strong safety Tyvon Branch is not factored in yet because that number, expected to be about 6.2 million, has yet to be announced, but the Raiders might now be within some 2.6 million, sans the Branch designation, of cap compliance by Tuesday's 1 p.m. PT deadline. With it, Oakland is within 8.8 million.
Of course, the Raiders would like to give themselves some wiggle room to operate by getting 4-5 million under the cap to make a run at some relatively cheap free agents and to get ready for the draft, although they currently only have a fifth-round and a sixth-round choice at their disposal (compensatory picks will be awarded later this month and the Raiders figure to get a third-rounder, which is relatively cheap to sign, as well as a fourth- andor a fifth-rounder after losing Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller, Robert Gallery and Thomas Howard to free agency).
Another Raider to keep an eye on, then, in the coming days is linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, whose agent Joe Linta confirmed to CSNCalifornia.com today he had not spoken to the Raiders in "several days." Reportedly, 6.5 million of Wimbley's 11-million base salary for 2012 is already guaranteed and the remaining 4.5 million becomes guaranteed if he is still on the roster March 17, as well as his entire 11 million base salary for 2013 and 2 million of his 10 million salary for 2014.Oakland cutting Wimbley before March 17 would save the Raiders between 1.9 million and 4.5 million for 2012 cap purposes, depending on prorations, 17.5 million going forward.Others to watch for potential cuts, and what a cut would mean savings-wise this year: linebacker Aaron Curry (5.757.5) defensive tackle John Henderson (4 million), cornerback Chris Johnson (3.5 million), defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (3.125.73) right guard Cooper Carlisle (2.7 million) and safety Hiram Eugene (2.45 million).Restructuring the likes of Curry and Kelly seem more likely, though the Raiders would have to extend Curry as he is entering the finale year of his contract.

McKenzie focuses Raiders' 2017 draft on defense, beefs up secondary

McKenzie focuses Raiders' 2017 draft on defense, beefs up secondary

ALAMEDA – Raiders general manger Reggie McKenzie made nine selections in this weekend’s NFL draft. That was a requirement given the state of his roster, featuring a stacked offense and a Swiss-cheese defense. It has holes.

He spent significant draft capital trying to upgrade the middle of his defense especially, adding three defensive backs, two defensive tackles and a fifth-round pick in Marquel Lee who will compete to start at middle linebacker.

He needs a few immediate impact players on the defensive group headlined by first-round cornerback Gareon Conley and second-round safety Obi Melifonwu.

“How much do I think I can get out of this group? I hope a lot,” McKenzie said Saturday after the NFL draft was complete. “They’re all going to come in and compete. We’re signing guys post-draft also. We’re going to give them all the opportunity to compete with the veterans that we already have on board. We hope that out of it all, the competition part of it, the cream rises and we have a very good 53-man roster.”

McKenzie follows a draft board thoroughly constructed through hundreds of scouting reports and cross checks, and extensive evaluation at combines and pro days. He trusts it. It has certainly treated him well before, which productive hauls in 2014 and 2015 especially.

While he lost out on some likable players taken before his slot, McKenzie believes the Raiders added quality and depth in previously lacking position groups. He stuck with size and athleticism at times over college production and, as always, beefed up both the offensive and defensive lines.

“I think the way it fell, we got a lot of players, at the end of the day, it looks like we needed,” he said. “We felt like we got a lot of good players with high talent levels from top to bottom. Some are going to be more raw than others. We’re going to have to see down the line, more so. I think talking to the board, you said, ‘Job well done.’”

McKenzie also focused on fixing a lackluster pass defense with speed. Conley can be a shutdown cornerback outside or in the slot. Melifonwu is a heavy hitter who can play both safety spots and is expected to contribute as a rookie. The secondary must improve to prevent big plays and help Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin get after the quarterback.

“You have to have speed to play the game the way it’s going now,” McKenzie said. “You have to be able to play in space. You have to be able to match up. We took all of that into consideration when we brought these players in. To the players that you mentioned, Obi and Conley, both of those guys have great range, speed, very athletic. So, they make tackles in space. That’s one of the things that we looked at. Make sure short to medium plays don’t turn into big plays. I think they will help in that scenario.”

Here’s a full list of Raiders draft picks:

Round 1 (No. 24 overall): CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
Round 2 (No. 56 overall): S Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut
Round 3 (No. 88 overall): DT Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA
Round 4 (No. 129 overall): OT David Sharpe, Florida
Round 5 (No. 168 overall): LB Marquel Lee, Wake Forest
Round 7 (No. 221 overall): S Shalom Luani, Washington State
Round 7 (No. 231 overall): OT Jylan Ware, Alabama State
Round 7 (No. 242 overall): RB Elijah Hood, North Carolina
Round 7 (No. 244 overall): DT Treyvon Hester, Toledo

 

Raiders 2017 UDFA tracker: McKenzie adds safeties, mining for more gold

Raiders 2017 UDFA tracker: McKenzie adds safeties, mining for more gold

ALAMEDA – The Raiders have had great success mining gold from undrafted free agency. Jalen Richard and Darius Latham were kings of last year’s crop, which was six strong by season’s end. with Seth Roberts and Denico Autry other examples of undrafted free agents done good in recent years.

Can Raiders scouts find more helpful pieces from those left out of the NFL draft? Time will tell on that one, but finding the right undrafted players is something the team takes seriously. Scouts revel in undrafted players who make it in the league.

“It’s very rewarding,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “If we sign him as a free agent, we may have had him on the board as draftable, but getting guys post draft, that helps you down the road. To maintain a consistent winner, you have to hit on some of those guys. You have to. The way that the contracts are these days, you have to have some of those type players to help you win football games year in and year out.”

The Raiders will search for those players into Saturday evening to fill the 90-man roster. McKenzie secured some of his top targets with four seventh-round picks, though several more have signed with the club. Here’s a list of those who have signed with the team thus far:

-- OL Jordan Simmons, USC: The hulking offensive lineman signed with the Raiders, he announced on social media. Simmons stands 6-foot-5 and 335 pounds, and will turn pro after being denied a sixth year of college eligibility. The talented guard had an injury-riddled career.

-- WR Isaac Whitney, USC: Whitney is yet another undrafted Trojan to join the Raiders roster. He announced the signing on social media. He didn’t have many college stats, but is fast with the size the Raiders prefer in outside receivers.

-- WR Keon Hatcher, Arkansas: Hatcher will reportedly join the offseason receiver group in hopes of taking a roster spot. He had 44 catches for 743 yards and eight touchdowns in his final college season. (Houston Chronicle)

-- WR Ishmael Zamora, Baylor: The Bears official website reported that Zamora will sign with the Silver and Black. He had63 catches for 809 yards and eight touchdowns in 2016. He was suspended three games for abusing a dog in an incident that was caught on video. 

-- S Ahmad Thomas, Oklahoma: The Raiders need safety depth, so it was smart of Thomas to sign in Oakland. He was a three-year starter and a team captain. (Houston Chronicle)

-- S Anthony Cioffi, Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights’ official Twitter account reported a four-year starter in college will give the pros a try in Oakland.

-- DT Jordan Wade, Oklahoma: The 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive tackle will join the Raiders. (SoonerScoop.com)

-- TE Pharaoh Brown, Oregon: The Ducks didn’t have a single player drafted, but Brown will join the Silver and Black. The tight end announced a signing on Twitter. He had 33 catches for 426 yards and five touchdown.

-- DT Paul Boyette, Texas: The Raiders continue adding volume at positions of need, including this 298-pound run stuffer. 

-- S Rickey Jefferson, LSU: Yet another safety joins the mix, according to LSU's football Twitter account. There will be a battle at that position all offseason as the Raiders try to sort out which players work best in their system. 

 

Check back for further updates...