‘Shutdown Corner’ offseason TPS report: Oakland Raiders

Brian McIntyre
Shutdown Corner

Over the next few weeks, "Shutdown Corner" will pay homage to "Office Space" (TPS reports) as we take a quick look back at each team's 2012 season and a look at what lies ahead for the 2013 offseason. We continue in the AFC West with the Oakland Raiders.

2012 record: 4-12

What went wrong: After clawing back into the playoff picture with a two-game winning streak in late October, the Raiders lost eight of their last nine games to finish 4-12, the eighth time in the last 10 seasons the franchise has lost 10 or more games.

According to Football Outsiders' opponent-adjusted metrics, the Raiders ranked 29th in team DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) and were 29th in defensive DVOA and 31st in special teams DVOA, so there were problems with pretty every aspect of the team. The Raiders offense ranked 23rd, in large part due to a rushing attack that averaged just 88.8 yards per game. An ankle injury kept running back Darren McFadden out of the lineup for four games in the middle of the season. The No. 4 overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft still has not played a full NFL season and is entering the final year of his rookie contract.

Linebacker Rolando McClain, another recent Top 10 pick, had 62 tackles and a sack and logged less than half the team's defensive snaps after serving a two-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. McClain's salary spikes from $970,000 in 2012 to $4.005 million in 2013 and his future with the team is far from secure. Defensive lineman Richard Seymour missed eight games with knee and hamstring injuries and will be a free agent after his contract voided five days after Super Bowl XLVII.

What went right: The Raiders had to throw the ball a lot in 2012 – their 39.3 attempts per game were tied for the fifth-most in the league – so it's no surprise that they ranked eighth in passing offense with 255.3 yards per game. A noteworthy aspect of the Raiders' passing offense, though, was that they only allowed 27 sacks on the season and, according to Football Outsiders, were tied for third in Adjusted Sack Rate. Fullback Marcel Reece went to his first Pro Bowl after catching 52 passes for 496 yards and the Raiders may have found a gem in undrafted rookie receiver Rod Streater, who caught 39 passes for 584 yards and three touchdowns.

Coaching/front office changes: Raiders head coach Dennis Allen made a few coaching changes, firing offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and special teams coordinator Rich Hoffman. Allen replaced Knapp with Greg Olson and Bobby April was hired as special teams coordinator.

Estimated 2013 cap space: $2.58 million over the cap

Possible cap casualties: Veteran quarterback Carson Palmer is coming off a season where he passed for over 4,000 yards with 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. According to Football Outsiders' opponent-adjusted DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) metric, Palmer ranked 18th in 2012, one spot behind Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who could become one of the highest-paid players in the NFL this offseason. Unlike Flacco, who is entering his prime, Palmer is entering his mid-30s and the rebuilding Raiders may look to go with third-year quarterback Terrelle Pryor as they keep an eye quarterback options in the 2013 or 2014 NFL drafts. Palmer is scheduled to earn $13 million in cash and has a $15.335 million cap number. If released outright, the Raiders would gain $5.995 million in cap space in 2013, but could designate Palmer as a "post-June 1" release and split the $9.340 million in signing bonus proration that remains over the next two seasons.

Another veteran who could face a "restructure or be released" proposition is Tommy Kelly, who had 1.5 sacks and turned 32 during the 2012 season. Kelly is due $6 million in 2013 and, thanks to previous restructures, has a cap number of $11,099,270. Releasing Kelly would clear $4.775 million in cap space. Additional cap relief will come from the safety position, where Michael Huff ($8 million) and Tyvon Branch ($9.5 million) comprise the highest-paid safety tandem in the NFL. As of Feb. 14, the Raiders have over $18 million committed to the safety position, $6 million more than the next closest team (Pittsburgh Steelers). Huff ($4 million) and Branch ($3.5 million) have roster bonuses due on March 14 that the Raiders will likely attempt to convert to signing bonuses and prorated to reduce cap numbers of $11.28875 million (Huff) and $10.9 million (Branch). Two former first-round picks - McFadden and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey - are due for contract restructures. McFadden is due $5,856,250 in base salary, while Heyward-Bey is will make $7.971 million and has a cap number of $10.601 million this season.

Unrestricted free agents

Khalif Barnes, OT
Desmond Bryant, DT
Cooper Carlisle, G
Andre Carter, DE
Omar Gaither, LB
Matt Giordano, S
Mike Goodson, RB
Derek Hagan, WR
Joselio Hanson, CB
Shane Lechler, P
Matt Leinart, QB
Mike Mitchell, S
Brandon Myers, TE
Richard Seymour, DT
Matt Shaughnessy, DE
Shawntae Spencer, CB
Phillip Wheeler, LB

Restricted free agents

Phillip Adams, CB

RFA tender amounts in 2013 are:

• $1.323 million for right of first refusal and/or original draft round compensation

• $2.023 for right of first refusal and second round draft selection

• $2.879 for right of first refusal and first round draft selection

Franchise Tag candidates: With his rookie contract expiring, Brandon Myers picked a great time to have a career season. The 2009 sixth-round pick out of Iowa had 32 receptions for 250 yards in his first 42 games in the NFL. In 2012, Myers led the Raiders with 79 receptions and 806 receiving yards, adding four touchdowns, which ranked third on the club, and ranked sixth among NFL tight ends in FO's DYAR metric. Myers earned $1.94 million over his first four seasons in the NFL. Based on a projected league-wide cap number of $121.1 million, the franchise tag for tight ends would be worth $5.973 million in 2013.

Previous installments of the "Offseason TPS Reports" series:

AFC East: New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns
AFC South: Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans
AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs

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