What cap figures say about Raiders’ free agent class

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With things feeling a little snug, the Raiders did something about it by restructuring the contract of center Rodney Hudson.

Hudson, being the Raiders’ most reliable player, was the natural choice in that he’s probably got the best shot of anyone on the roster of being around three years from now so extending his deal with void years won’t dramatically affect their cap in future seasons.

The end of result is Hudson gets the same money in actual dollars he was going to get, but $11.6 million of his scheduled salary of more than $14 million guaranteed was converted to a roster bonus, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.

Presto. Hudson’s cap figure went from the third highest on the Raiders to No. 16, clearing more than $9 million.

Does that mean the Raiders can gear up for a run at the likes of defensive end Jadeveon Clowney or cornerback Logan Ryan? Not necessarily. According to overthecap.com have $5,214,932 in cap space. They’d probably have to renegotiate the contracts of quarterback Derek Carr ir tackle Trent Brown to make a truly big move. Both have cap numbers of $21.5 million, but tying themselves to either player in terms of cap acceleration beyond their present deals is the kind of move which put the Raiders in cap jail in the latter years Al Davis.

More than likely, aside from the 2020 draft class, what you see with the Raiders is what you’re going to get aside from a few near-minimum veterans added by coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock.

With the numbers pretty much accounted for other than defensive tackle Daniel Ross, who should come in near the veteran minimum, a look at the Raiders class of unrestrcited free agents and what their cap numbers say about what is expected of them:


Cory Littleton ($11,750,000)

The Raiders’ big-ticket item at a position of great need, Littleton will play nearly every snap at linebacker and be counted upon to help keep the Travis Kelce’s of the world under control as a linebacker who can run and cover.


Marcus Mariota ($9,125,000)

He’ll be a backup quarterback to Carr and stands to be the Raider most affected if the off-season is wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In terms of on-field preparation, he’ll be thrown off the high dive and be asked to swim when training camp convenes in Napa in late July. Mariota’s deal includes bonsues and escalators based on playing time and performance which would elevate his pay to that of a starter.


Carl Nassib ($7,750,000)

Quite a bump from the $2,025,000 cap number Nassib had playing as a reserve defensive end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. An angular (6-foot-7) outside rusher whose motor made him a fan favorite to pair with Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell. Nassib needs to be good right away, and Arden Key had better arrive healthy and ready to untap more of his potential.


Nick Kwiatkoski ($7,000,000)

The first agreement of free agency, Kwaitkoski is a calculated gamble in that he has yet to be a fulltime starter at linebacker and is being paid as such along with Littleton. His presence immediately has the Raiders thinking about going elsewhere other than linebacker with one of their two first-round draft picks at Nos. 12 and 19. Tahttps://overthecap.com/salary-cap/las-vegas-raiders/lking a linebacker in the first round means either that player or Kwiatkoski would be off the field quite a bit considering the Raiders play nickel more than the a 4-3.


Maliek Collins ($6,000,000)

Collins will be a Rod Marinelli project at defensive tackle to play in rotation along with Maurice Hurst, Johnathan Hankins and possibly P.J. Hall. Lighting a fire under Hall is the ancillary benefit of having Collins aboard, and at 25, he’s on the kind of one-year, prove-it deal that worked like a charm with Richie Incoginito a year ago.


Eli Apple ($6,000,000)

Apple’s deal is not yet official. Like Collins he gets a year to prove he can play like the No. 10 pick in the draft, which hasn’t happened yet as a cornerback with the Giants and Saints. He’ll get competition from a draft pick or two, and the Raiders can still kick the tires on recently released Dre Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick has experience playing under defensive coordinator Paul Guenther in Cincinnati but could be too pricey if there are other suitors.


Jason Witten ($4,750,000)

You didn’t think Gruden was going to let a free agency period go by without bringing in a revered veteran, did you? Assuming Witten hasn’t lost more than a step or two, he’ll be on board at tight end with Darren Waller and Foster Moreau. The only question is whether Gruden keeps four tight ends with Derek Carrier still around.

A no-brainer at the veteran minimum on a prove-it deal. Came in at about one-tenth the price of Robby Anderson ($10 million per season), who signed with Carolina, and way under the $8 million Emmanuel Sanders received from New Orleans. If Agholor doesn’t stick, no big deal.

Erik Kush ($887,500)

Provides potential depth as a veteran of 49 games with 19 starts who has played left guard, right guard and center.


Nick O’Leary ($887,500)

Grandson of Jack Nicklaus (his first name is Nicklaus), O’Leary joins a unit at tight end that aleady has three Waller, Moreau and Witten along with Carrier.


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