Found March 16, 2012 on Thoughts from the Dark Side:

Day_4The Raiders went the morning without doing anything of note but there was a flurry of Raider related activity in the afternoon.  At about 12:30 PM Pacific, it was reported by numerous sources that the Raiders would, in fact, cut LB Kamerion Wimbley.

If the Raiders had not cut Wimbley by 1:00pm Pacific, his contract called for a large amount of the contract to be guaranteed and that forced the team's hand to cut him since he was not willing to come to a restructure deal that satisfied Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie.

Wimbley had an $11 million salary due this season, although not all of that counted against the salary cap.  Despite being cut, the Raides will still pay Wimbley $6.5 million this season because it was guaranteed money.  They get the remaining $4.5 million in savings but the salary cap savings is much smaller - reportedly only $1.5 million.

While that savings seems rather small and many ask why the Raiders would cut Wimbley over a mere $4.5 million, this year's contract was, while high, likely not the reason he was cut.  If the Raiders had allowed him to remain on the roster, his entire $11 million salary for 2012 would have become guaranteed, his $11 million salary for 2013 would have become fully guaranteed and $2 million of his 2014 salary would have become guaranteed as well.

Therefore, by cutting Wimbley today, the Raiders saved $17.5 million guaranteed over the next three seasons - $4.5 million in 2012, $11 million in 2013 and $2 million in 2014.

Mike_BrisielThe Raiders also made their first free agency signings this afternoon, signing RG Mike Brisiel and CB Ronald Bartell.  Both were covered in yesterday's post in more detail but I'll briefly recap, here.

Brisiel is a good fit for the Raiders zone blocking scheme - he played the same scheme in Houston.  The Raider OC Gregg Knapp was Houston's QB coach last season and the team's new OL coach Frank Pollack was an assistant OL coach in Houston before coming to Oakland.

According to Houston beat writer John McClain, the deal is for 5 years and $20 million.  It's not known at this time how much is guaranteed and how much will count against the cap this season.

 Brisiel is expected to immediately move into the starting lineup at RG to replace the hole created when the team cut Cooper Carlisle.  Brisiel wore number 65 in Houston which is currently worn by OL Alex Parsons.

Ronald_BartellThe Raiders also came to terms with former Rams CB Ronald Bartell.  Bartell is a solid press coverage corner.  He's a big guy at 6'1" and 205 lbs.  He showed the coverage skills to be able to play opposite a number one receiver in St Louis.  He was a cap casualty after being on IR last season for a fractured cervical vertebrae.

If healthy, he looks like a great risk.  PFT's Evan Silva, who generated that site's top 100 free agents, had Bartell at his number 32 overall and the 6th cornerback on the list.  He wore number 24 with the Rams, which is worn by Michael Huff on the Raiders.

As a side note, Wimbley is now at 5th place in the PFT top 100 and Michael Bush is at 22.

One of the players that many Raiders fans had been hoping for, Brisiel's former teamate and Houston's starting center Chris Myers re-signed with the Texans today.  There are still options at center on the market but two of the top - Myers and former GB center Scott Wells are no longer options - Wells signed with the Rams, also today.

Center, Linebacker, backup QB and Cornerback (still) are the Raiders biggest areas of need.  Defensive line is also an area the team will need to address.

Centers still available include last year's starter Samson Satele and former Rams center Jason Brown.

There are many good linebackers remaining on the market as there has not yet been much action at that position.

I interact a lot on Twitter.  Ask me questions or tell me what you think @AsherMathews


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