On the first day of the 2013 league year, the Oakland Raiders announced that they have released 2009 first-round wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, 2006 first-round safety Michael Huff and defensive end Dave Tollefson.
The three moves clear $7.9 million in cap space in 2013 and, perhaps more importantly, clear over $17 million in cash.
Huff had two seasons remaining on his $8 million per year contract and was scheduled to receive a $4 million roster bonus on Thursday. In seven seasons with the Silver & Black, Huff started 93 of 108 games, totaling 438 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 11 interceptions. His releases saves the Raiders $8 million in cash and, if not designated a "post-June 1" release (which would allow the team to split his cap hit over the 2013 and 2014 seasons), $1.791 million in cap space. (If the Raiders do use a "post-June 1" designation on Huff, they would save $8 million against their 2013 cap, but Huff would count $6.208 million against their 2014 cap.)
The Raiders used the seventh overall pick in what has become a calamitous 2009 NFL Draft on Heyward-Bey, who has caught 140 passes for 2,071 yards and 11 touchdowns in 56 games. Heyward-Bey had 41 receptions for 606 yards and a career-high five touchdowns in 2012, but was scheduled to earn $7.971 million in cash compensation in 2013, the final season of his $40.9 million rookie contract. Releasing Heyward-Bey saves nearly $8 million in cash and $5.341 million in cap space this season.
Tollefson joined the Raiders last offseason, signing a two-year, $2.4 million contract to add depth to the team's defensive line. In 15 games in primarily a special teams role, Tollefson had just eight tackles and a share of quarterback sack. The Raiders will save $1.1 million in cash and $775,000 in cap space by releasing Tollefson, who will receive $500,000 of his scheduled $900,000 base salary in 2013 from the Raiders as that amount was fully guaranteed with no offset language to protect the team.