Originally posted on Thoughts from the Dark Side  |  Last updated 4/3/13
The Raiders have been busy shedding contracts again this offseason and that included shedding the contracts of both of 2012’s starting defensive tackles. Tommy Kelly had a good run as an Oakland Raider. He was undrafted in 2004 out of Mississippi State. He played his well into the starting roll, and eventually “earned” the largest contract ever for a defensive tackle, totaling 7 years and $50.5 million. Kelly was a dominant DT at times, even being named a Pro Bowl alternate in 2010. However, with the new regime taking over a salary cap disaster, it was a foregone conclusion Kelly would be released this offseason to continue saving money and planning for the future. It was just a matter of “when” he was released, not “if”. Richard Seymour wasn’t ever able to be the player that Al Davis hoped he would when he traded a first round pick to the New England Patriots for him and the team made no attempt to resign him, allowing him to hit the open market for the first time in his career. To highlight the differences between 2012 and 2013, below is a chart that shows, without names, the 2012 production of Kelly, Seymour and new DT signees Pat Sims and Vance Walker. Player Age 2012 Salary Games Played Salary per game Total penalties & yards Pre-snap penalties Total tackles Sacks INTs Dollars per tackle A 32 $6,000,000.00 16 $375,000.00 9 for 75 yards 6 45 1 0 $133,000.00 B 28 $1,400,000.00 8 $175,000.00 1 for 5 yards 1 17 0 1 $82,352.00 C 25 $1,200,000.00 16 $75,000.00 0 0 32 3 0 $37,500.00 D 33 $8,000,000.00 8 $1,000,000.00 3 for 20 yards 2 15 3 0 $533,333.00 After looking at these numbers, which two players would you choose?   Surprise! Players A and D were Kelly and Seymour, respectively, while B and C were Sims and Walker. When looking at the players' ages, salaries and productivity, it looks like Reggie has made a good decision. Sims and Walker were paid $82,252 and $37,500 per tackle, respectively, while Kelly and Seymour were paid $133,333 and $533,333 per tackle. The Raiders simply don't have enough money to pay guys that much money for that amount of productivity. It appears that Reggie McKenzie is taking a page out of Billy Bean's manual and taking the “money ball” approach, while bringing in HIS guys. He wants to get guys he can afford, guys that want to play football, and guys that don't commit too many penalties. Walker and Sims may or may not be long term solutions, but they're affordable and want to play, and are young enough to improve, instead of on the decline.
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