Oakland Raiders: Who Can They “Afford” to Cut for Salary Cap Space?

It's amazing how small the Raiders initially reported $11 million excess of the salary cap seems now that reports have come out with that number doubled to $22 million over the cap.

Now is the time for new GM Reggie McKenzie to do what he was hired to do, which is to get very creative in finding ways to shed $22 million from the 2012 payroll.

When making these decisions, there are a few ways to trim the payroll: restructure contracts and release players.  We've already seen Stanford Routt released and I'm sure we can expect more. Here are my candidates to be released if they don't restructure their contracts.

Michael Huff

The first-round pick of the 2006 draft finally seemed to be paying dividends when he was named second-team All-Pro in 2010, a contract year for him.  He re-signed with the Raiders at four years, $32 million and is due reportedly eight million in 2012.  Huff himself has said: "I didn't play like an eight million safety" after the Raiders' defense failed in the final stretch of 2011, costing the Raiders a playoff spot.

Huff can be easily replaced by Tyvon Branch moving to free safety and inserting Mike Mitchell into the starting lineup at strong safety.  Branch must be re-signed before we can go ahead with that position change, and cutting Michael would free up some money.

John Henderson

Henderson was given a two-year deal worth several million before the lockout.  For an aging, rotational defensive tackle, that is a hefty price to pay.  He was signed because of how respected of a run-stuffer he was in Jacksonville, but the Raiders continued to get gutted on the ground.

I say let "Big John" go and give more playing time to the the up-and-coming undrafted defensive tackle from Harvard, Desmond Bryant.

Kamerion Wimbley

I never thought he was worthy of being one of the top five paid linebackers...

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