Raiders Currently $58 Million Under Next Year’s Projected Salary Cap

Just two years removed from a roster with over $55 million in dead money (cap costs for players no longer on the roster), Reggie McKenzie finally had room to breathe this offseason. While luring free agents to Oakland proved to be a challenge, the Raiders believe they’re taking the steps necessary to reverse that trend (improving roster, improving facilities, addressing stadium situation).

According to, the Raiders currently have about $20 million in cap room and just $9.3 million in dead money. In 2013, Richard Seymour ($13.7) and Carson Palmer ($9.34) each carried more ’13 dead money than the 2015 team.

Courtesy CBS Sports

While $9.3 million in dead money isn’t among the lowest in the league (15 teams currently have less dead money), bad contracts from McKenzie aren’t to blame – most of that figure stems from injuries to Tyvon Branch ($6.6M) and Nick Roach ($1.6M).

In terms of cap space, the Raiders are in great shape going forward. The NFL cap is projected to exceed $150 million in 2016 (some think it could reach $160M) and the Raiders have just over $90 million in active 2016 contracts. With a $150M cap in 2016, projects to the Raiders to have around $58 million in cap room – that’s $9 million more than the next closest team and almost double the Jaguars who project to have the sixth-most available cap space:

  1. $58.3M – Raiders
  2. $49.2M – Giants
  3. $40.8M – Bengals
  4. $36.4M – Buccaneers
  5. $34.4M – Bears
  6. $29.7M – Jaguars

So what to do with all the cash? Donald Penn (32), Charles Woodson (38), Michael Crabtree (27), Justin Tuck (32), Ray Ray Armstrong (26), Marquette King (26), and J’Marcus Webb (27) will be free agents while Derek Carr and Khalil Mack could command contracts near the top of the market in 2017.

As of now, the Raiders are poised to start 10 players (out of possible 22) on offense and defense that have never played for another team. Sio Moore, Clive Walford, Mychal Rivera, Jon Feliciano, Mario Edwards Jr., and Ben Heeney are players who could be added to that list this year or next.

Considering McKenzie’s resume in free agency, the best plan for his money may be to continue drafting well and keep the money in house. Otherwise known as his strategy from the start.