After crunching a few numbers, making a few educated estimations, and updating some old salary cap data one thing is clear: The Raiders can’t afford Nnamdi Asomugha.
The Raiders may only be able to afford Zach Miller or Michael Huff, and not both.
If the Salary Cap were in place in 2010, the Raiders total salary cap figure would have been $132 million.
As of January 13, the Raiders cap figure for 2011 was $85.8 million. This was prior to new deals for Stanford Routt, Richard Seymour as well as the franchise tender given to Kamerion Wimbley.
Based upon my calculations, the Raiders figure is between $118 million and $130 million for 2011.
The two methods deployed to come up with this range were using the $85.8 and adding the money committed in contracts after January 13. The second was utilizing the contracts page on Rotoworld.com and compensating for any guarantees the player may have.
Obviously both methods are flawed which is why the range is so large. $12 million could be the difference between signing two marquee players instead of one. Assume the higher figure is correct, because it utilizes known data and fewer estimations.
We don’t know what the salary cap will be and any true salary cap analysis and free agent speculation will have to wait until finite numbers are worked out.
What we know: NFL revenue in 2010 was $9.3 billion and is projected to rise 4%. The players share is rumored to be 48% of total revenue. Estimated salary cap 2011: $145 million per team.
If this is correct, the Raiders would have about $15 million to sign rookies and free agents. Approximately $5 million would be reserved for rookies.
That leaves just about $10 million in cap room. That’s just about enough for one or two free agents and filling out the rest of the roster.
Unlike in past seasons, not many Raiders players have huge base salaries that would equal huge cap savings if the player was cut. Teams are always able to move around money and Al Davis has been one of the best at doing it in the past. In this case there isn’t much flexibility.
If Zach Miller and Michael Huff each cut into the cap at around $5 million per year the Raiders would be rubbing right against the cap. This would make it difficult to fill out the rest of the roster with quality players.
Asomugha could count as much as $14 million against the cap. There just isn’t room for Asomugha unless the Raiders reshuffle the deck with trick cards. Even a long-term back-loaded contract isn’t going to equal huge cap savings.
The Raiders set themselves up the best they could, locking down players they wanted and will let the market determine if they can keep Michael Huff and Zach Miller.
As for Asomugha, it isn’t that the Raiders wouldn’t pay him if they could, it’s that they will now be limited by a salary cap that makes it near impossible.
Obviously, things are very fluid with the new collective bargaining agreement and can and likely will change. No guarantee can be made that the Raiders can’t work voodoo magic.