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According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Raiders strong safety Tyvon Branch will receive the franchise tag.
With only a few days to go before the deadline to apply the tag the two sides remain far apart to reach a long-term contract.
It’s not impossible that the Raiders will reach a long-term agreement with Branch at some point in the future, but at least one side feels a deal can’t be reached before the deadline on Monday.
Branch just completed his rookie contract worth about $2.2 million and is looking for pay in-line with starting role. Branch averaged 112 tackles per season since becomming a starter at the beginning of the 2009 season.
Branch has been used as a box safety to help support the run, something required because of the Raiders problems in the front seven.
It is believed Branch will be an excellent fit in Dennis Allen’s defensive scheme and was immediately mentioned as a top priority for the Raiders.
Undrafted Free Agents Signed:
Mason Brodine, DE – Nebraska-Kearney
Chris Francis, ILB – Baylor
Ben Iamaak, C – Iowa State
Derrick Jones, WR – California (PA)
Ben Gbadyu, OLB, Penn State
Alan Pelc, OG, North Carolina
Sterling Moore, CB – Southern Methodist
Eddie McGee, WR/QB – Illinois
James McCluskey, FB – Boston College
Lou Eliades, OL – Penn State
Zac Etheridge, S – Auburn
Jordan La Secla, QB – San Jose State
Steven Goulet. WR – Ohio
Jamie Cumbie, DT – Clemson
Veteran Free Agents Signed:
Jarvis Moss, DE/LB
Jon Condo, LS
Draft picks signed:
Taiwan Jones – Signing Bonus $405,000
DeMarcus Van Dyke
David Ausberry – Signing Bonus $45,900
Denarius Moore – Signing Bonus $190,500
Per Adam Caplann, Michael Bush is almost certain to return to the Raiders in 2011.
Michael Bush spent his entire first season on the non-football injury list and he wouldn’t have accrued the four seasons necessary to become a free agent.
This conflicts with Jerry McDonald’s report that his first season would count and he would become a free agent if the new rules allow players with four seasons to become free agents.
I trust Jerry McDonald, but I have heard if the rules remained the same under the new collective bargaining agreement he would not become a free agent. There is also the possiblity this provision could be changed in the new labor deal.
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.
With an extended window to examine tape of this year’s undrafted free agent (UDFA) pool, we could be in store for some of the largest UDFA signing bonuses in the history of the league.
It’s surprising then, that several names have started to leak out regarding the interest in certain undrafted players.
In particular, it seems the Raiders are targeting linebackers, probably looking to add depth to the core player and supplement the likely departure of Thomas Howard.
Mario Harvey might be one of the hotter names still available and would be a good fit as a fifth linebacker for the Raiders. Harvey is a short linebacker with good instincts. He timed well, but is slower in pads. He’s known to be an aggressive tackler.
Cobrani Mixon is a light inside linebacker and lacks range and speed, but could be effective if he adds bulk. He was very productive at Kent State. An ideal developmental player.
Darnell Bolding was college defensive end and weighs between 215 and 230 pounds. If he projects at all it is as an outside linebacker. He lacks speed and wasn’t terribly productive as a college player.
Bolding had a workout scheduled with the Raiders during the brief period the lockout was lifted and has been training with Darnell Dockett.
While interest doesn’t always translate into signing a player, it is a good indicator of where the team thinks it needs to add depth. Given these players are all linebackers and not all are top UDFA targets, it would be safe to assume the Raiders are worried about their depth at the position.