The Financial Implications of Releasing Rolando McClain

It was recently reported that Rolando McClain’s tenure with the Oakland Raiders may be coming to a quick end with the player being thrown off the practice field and McClain later using social media to state that his time in Oakland is finished. While no moves have officially been made I thought it would be worth looking over what a release might mean.

McClain’s contract would be subject to the waiver system meaning another NFL team could have the option of claiming him and his contract. If claimed the team would be on the hook for salaries of $4,005,000 in 2013 and $5,805,000 in 2014 as well as the balance of his $970,000 salary in 2012. The claiming team would also be responsible for the remaining guarantees in the contract of $1,535,000 in 2013 and $2,100,000 in 2014.McClain can also earn increased salary in 2013 and 2014 via escalator clauses.

If McClain went unclaimed the Raiders would be responsible for those future payments and they would immediately accelerate onto the 2012 salary cap, which may be too much for the Raiders to bear. According to Pro Football Talk the Raiders were about $4.6 million under the cap in early November. 3.6 million of additional charges plus the money spent to replace his roster spot would leave them with almost no room to operate for the rest of the year. This may mean that the best option for Oakland is to deactivate him for remainder of the season and to try to work out a trade once the season ends.