January 26, 2014; Honolulu, HI, USA; Team Sanders receiver DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles (10) is defended by Team Rice cornerback Brandon Flowers of the Kansas City Chiefs (24) in the fourth quarter during the 2014 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium. Team Rice defeated Team Sanders 22-21. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Raider Nation has taken to Twitter once again to make something happen. This time, it’s the recruiting of ex-Eagles wide receiver Desean Jackson. Anyone who has read my work or has listened to the Just Blog Baby podcast knows I have been very critical of Jackson and I stand by that criticism, however given the circumstances and the possibility of acquiring him for no trade compensation, the idea of signing him is much more appealing to me. In this article I am going to talk about how the Raiders can get this signing done in terms of money and their current cap situation.
Examining the Competition
The threat of Washington signing Jackson is absolutely legitimate and could happen. As of now the Redskins have approximately seven million dollars in cap space, but next year they only have about 106 million in salary with plenty of fat to cut if they choose to. Also considering the overall salary cap will likely increase to around 145 million dollars, the Redskins could easily have a second year balloon payment that would cover the necessary salary demands while making the first year entirely based on bonus. In short, do not sleep on Dan Snyder’s obsession with overpaying.
The only downside for the Redskins is their current cap situation. Yes they can make the first year entirely based on bonus money that can be prorated over the life of the contract, but they will have some issues fitting even a veteran minimum salary under this cap. This year they have very few contract with large amounts of salary available to cut and few with bonus money they can restructure. They can cut offensive lineman Tyler Polumbus to save 2.5 million dollars this season, but their best bet is to resign Orakpo to a long term contract that is front loaded to minimize his cap impact from a high salary. They could also restructure Trent William’s contract and move much of this year’s salary to next year in the form of bonus. All in all, it would be very doable to meet Jackson’s demands.
What Are Jackson’s Demands?
Likely he will want something similar to his last contract and the contract Mike Wallace received last year. That would mean something around the lines of five years 50 million dollars with 25 guaranteed, to 6 years 72 million with 30 guaranteed is most likely. Of course a team could get creative with the terms of a contract and do something with five years 30 million with 25 guaranteed and incentives to make the total value closer to 60 million if they choose.
What Can the Raiders Offer?
Firstly, the Raiders have one distinct advantage in the sense that Desean Jackson’s camp reportedly reached out to the Raiders before he was released with significant interest in joining the team. Most likely the Raiders knew this ahead of time and began to look into him doing their due diligence. What the Redskins intend to do with this visit is unknown, but it could simply be a leverage play by Jackson’s agent. The question is can the Raiders meet the Redskins offer or beat it?
As of now before the Maurice Jones Drew contract and CJ Wilson contracts have been add, the Raiders have about 14.6 million dollars in cap space. Assuming the contracts only take up around five million dollars the Raiders would have about 9.4 left while about seven million would have to go towards signing rookies. For clarity, the Redskins would have considerably less in rookie wages to pay and would likely pay around four million due to their lack of a first round pick.
This means as of now the Raiders should have around two million dollars they can use to sign Jackson. In order to create more cap space the Raiders could restructure or cut Kevin Burnett who is die 3.5 million dollars this year, they could cut or restructure Mike Brisiel’s contract which would save at a minimum of 1.4 million dollars, and lastly they can also restructure Janikowski’s contract to create some cap space as well. What the Raiders could offer is around five million in actual cash salary this season which could be highly attractive to Jackson. The Raiders of course will have no trouble fitting him into next year’s cap since they only have 80.1 million dollars in cap taken up next season. This will of course rise with the Jones-Drew and Wilson contracts, but they could meet or beat any long term offer if they wish.