Can’t say we didn’t see this one coming. Once Stanford Routt’s “out of whack” contract was shredded by Reggie McKenzie all eyes shifted to Kamerion Wimbley and the Al Davis gravy train he was riding with biscuit wheels.
Jason La Canfora of NFL Network cites a source claiming the Raiders will part ways with Wimbley if he is unwilling to restructure his current contract.
In the coming season the pass rush specialist is due to make a cool $11-million with the added incentive of possibly attaining another $19-million in future guarantees if he’s on the roster at the start of the league year. So that clock is ticking like Marisa Tomei’s on My Cousin Vinny.
This is yet another step in the McKenzie cleansing process. Clearly the Raiders value Wimbley enough that they they’ve given him the backhanded courtesy of taking a pay cut in lieu of taking a hike. However the reality is this team could have easily been abused on defense without his services in 2011.
Wimbley sure did hit the jackpot when the Raiders traded for him. One moment he was an underachiever in Cleveland; the next a highly paid defender in Oakland.
In the eyes of Al Davis, Wimbley did more than enough in his first year as a Raider to earn a hefty raise. During his contract year Wimbley was terrorizing QBs like LeBron James’ moms does valets. Perhaps not coincidence, once Wimbley got paid his production dropped. Take away one memorable night in San Diego, when Wimbley abused San Diego’s scout team O-line, and there wasn’t much to talk about for this past season.
While Wimbley is adept at getting pressure on the quarterback, he does nothing to help defend the run and was routinely exposed in pass coverage. In other words, McKenzie isn’t going to pay top dollar for a part-time player.
This practice is nothing new around the NFL. These ultimatums are routine. The advantage for Wimbley is that even a restructured deal likely to be more lucrative than what he would get on the open market. So if he likes being a Raider then he’ll stay in silver and black.
While the ball might be in Wimbley’s court the truth is Oakland needs to retain as much talent as possible in the short term. With no money to spend on free agents and no draft picks to add new talent, it would be bad business to start making drastic cuts. That won’t jive too well with what Carson Palmer has in mind for this team and it certainly won’t make the defense any better, at least not immediately. Then again, the Raiders are a good $20-million over the cap and McKenzie has few options available. This is not an easy job McKenzie has taken on by any means.
All that being said, addition through subtraction only works when there is something else that can be added to the equation. I’m not saying losing Wimbley will be the end of the world but I’m guessing a healthy Travis Goethel isn’t the answer either.