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May 24

Thoughts on Raiders’ Restructuring of Matt Flynn’s Contract

Matt Flynn reportedly restructured his contract for a 2nd time since being traded to the Raiders according to Ian Rapoport. Assuming he took a minimum salary of $715,000 the Raiders will create $1,267,500 in cap space and Flynn will carry a cap charge of $3.607,500. His 2014 number would then rise to $7,892,500.

The Raiders needed to do this move in order to sign CB/S Charles Woodson. My numbers are bit off on the Raiders and Im still missing details on Josh Cribbs, both of which I will try to correct in the near future, but according to the NFLPA the Raiders had only $179,987 in cap room, which would not be enough to sign Woodson, who should carry a cap charge of $1.8 million. In order to sign a player to a contract the league mandates that you have enough cap room before they allow the contract to be accepted.

Now if you quickly do the math you will see that the money created still is not enough to sign Woodson, but it is worth noting that the Raiders have a June 1 cut on their roster in Michael Huff. The NFL and NFLPA calculate June 1 cut data differently and in this case the NFL calculates it properly and in accordance with the CBA. The NFLPA immediately moves the player into “dead money” and out of the top 51, which forces another player to count in the top 51. Per the CBA the June 1 designated release has his contract count as if he is on the team, meaning he maintains his place in the top 51. That means as of today the Raiders cap is under-reported by $480,000 using NFLPA accounting methods. If you take that into account the Flynn restructure would leave Oakland with $1,927,487 in cap room, just enough to sign Woodson, a move that was officially accepted by the NFL yesterday.

With Woodson signed the Raiders will only have about $130,000 in spending money but once Huff comes off the books on June 2nd the team will pick up $7.52 million of net cap space as he saves the team $8 million and will be replaced by a player likely earning $480,000. So don’t expect the Raiders to sign many, if any, rookies until June 2nd. They could fit some later round picks who will only have their prorated money count towards the cap, but most likely they would just hold off.

My first reaction when I heard the news was “same old Raiders”, but after giving it more thought I dont see any issue with the deal. Oakland has so much cap room in 2014 due to finally gutting the roster in 2013 that the added cap charges for 1 player has no material impact on the team whatsoever. Flynn’s 2014 cap charge is still low for a starting QB and even if he is relegated to backup status he will likely be backing up a high draft pick QB, whose cap charge will be just over $4 million. So the Raider positional cap allocation would still be extremely low at the position.

While some may say what purpose is there to an older player whose best days are long behind him to a team like this, I think there is a solid answer to that question. The Raiders are going to be a young team and have just invested a top draft pick on a cornerback, DJ Hayden,. who the Raiders felt was actually worth the 3rd pick in the draft if they had been unable to trade down. Sometimes you want your young players to learn from the right people and Woodson has seen and done it all at the position. He can serve as a mentor to Hayden and to the team. The Raiders have been devoid of anything resembling leadership and Woodson brings that. Woodson knows the situation he is getting into and the role he is to play so I would expect him to embrace the role as a leader of young men trying to turn an organization around.