Feb. 22, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVERAIDERS PAGE RAIDERSVIDEOPaul Gutierrez
As expected, the Raiders have utilized the buyback option in linebacker Kamerion Wimbleys rookie contract, all but guaranteeing Oaklands leading sacker from last season will be back in 2011.Wimbleys agent, Joe Linta, confirmed to CSN California the Raiders sent him a letter detailing their intention of retaining the linebacker. FoxSports.com first reported the development.The Raiders held a 3.5 million option on Wimbleys contract since acquiring him in a March trade for a third-round draft pick with Cleveland. At strongside linebacker, the pass-rushing specialist had nine sacks, 58 tackles, 46 solo, one pass defensed and one forced fumble while starting all 16 games in the 2010 season.According to the report, Wimbley was able to void the final year of his contract, which would have paid him a relatively meager 685,000 this season, by meeting certain playing-time requirements. So now Wimbley, the No. 13 overall pick of the 2006 draft out of Florida State, gets what amounts to a near 3-million raise.But according to a later FoxSports.com report, Wimbleys jump in salary could be in violation of the 30 percent rule, which says that salaries cannot rise more than 30 percent from one season to the next. With Wimbleys base salary for 2010 a reported 2.115 million, a max 30 percent increase would be at 2.75 million, obviously less than the 3.5 million buyback. A big signing bonus, which is not subject to the rule, could be a way for the Raiders to get around the potential violation, though you have to wonder how and why the NFL would allow such a contract to be completed when it is apparently against the rules.Along with Wimbley, who might now be an unrestricted free agent when a new CBA is agreed upon, Oakland has re-signed defensive tackle Richard Seymour. But there has been no movement or hint on whether the Raiders plan on using its franchise tag CSNCalifornia.com suggested last week it could be placed on left guard Robert Gallery or if they plan on hiring a defensive coordinator the logical choice by default now seems to be the recently re-hired Chuck Bresnahan.Other free agents the Raiders have to make decisions on include cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Stanford Routt, free safety Michael Huff, running back Michael Bush and tight end Zach Miller. The CBA expires March 3.
The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.
They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.
Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.
“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”
While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.
The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.
“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.
"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”
Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.
Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.
Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.
“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”
Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.
“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”