[/url][/quote]Posted on Fri, Feb. 18, 2005
QB gives Raiders cap relief
By Steve Corkran
CONTRA COSTA TIMES
Quarterback Kerry Collins proved the consummate team player in 2004 by saying and doing all the things on and off the field that the Raiders asked of him. On Wednesday, he put his money where his mouth is.
Collins restructured his contract in such a way that lowered his base salary from $4.7 million in 2005 to $1.2 million and helped the Raiders get under the salary cap limit, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
The Raiders now are approximately $2 million under the projected salary cap figure of $85 million. The cap was $80,582,000 in 2004. All teams must be under the limit March 1 and remain there the rest of the season. Free agency starts March 2.
Still, the Raiders have plenty of work to do before the cap takes effect. They would have to clear upwards of $6 million more of cap space should they elect to designate cornerback Charles Woodson or wide receiver Jerry Porter their franchise player by Tuesday's deadline. Both will be unrestricted free agents if they aren't re-signed by March 2.
The franchise tag is a one-year tender from a team to a player on the verge of free agency. The tender guarantees the player the average of the top five salaries at his position from the previous season. In exchange, the team gets the right to match an offer from any other team or two first-round draft picks if another team signs that player.
The franchise tender for Woodson stands at $8,816,000, and $7,768,000 for Porter. The Raiders used the exclusive franchise tag on Woodson last season and wound up paying him $8,781,000.
Raiders senior personnel executive Mike Lombardi said it is team policy not to discuss contract negotiations.
However, it is no secret that the Raiders aren't inclined to pay quarterback Rich Gannon the $8 million he is scheduled to earn in 2005. He restructured his contract from $7 million to $4.5 million before last season.
Now, Gannon is recovering from a broken vertebra in his neck sustained Sept. 26 and unsure whether he wants to attempt a comeback. The Raiders could save as much as $7 million or so by getting Gannon to accept a restructured contract that would pay him the veteran minimum. They would save less by releasing Gannon before June 1 because the unaccounted portion of Gannon's signing bonus would be accelerated and count toward the 2005 cap.
Raiders coach Norv Turner has said he won't comment on Gannon's future until Gannon's doctors provide enough information on his long-term outlook. That makes Collins the No. 1 quarterback until further notice.
Collins earned $660,000 last season. He is scheduled to make $6 million in 2006.
The Raiders also have several prime candidates for restructuring or release: left offensive tackle Barry Sims ($3.1 million in 2005), backup defensive tackle John Parrella ($3 million), right guard Ron Stone ($2.2 million), left guard Frank Middleton ($2 million), backup running back Zack Crockett ($2 million), defensive tackle Ted Washington ($2 million) and defensive end Warren Sapp ($2 million).