Raiders Restructure Star Player’s Contract, Add Big Salary Cap Room

jon gruden

Getty Las Vegas Raiders HC Jon Gruden.

The Las Vegas Raiders have been big spenders in free agency this offseason and they perhaps spent a little too much. Thanks to that, they’ve had to get creative with how they create cap space. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Raiders are restructuring Rodney Hudson’s contract.

As the team’s starting center, Hudson is probably its best player. He’s been to three Pro Bowl and made second-team All-Pro for the first time in 2019. He’s only missed one game since 2016 and is considered one of the Raiders’ strongest leaders. Hudson just got a new contract before the 2019 season, which was the largest for a center in the NFL at the time. It’s a big leadership move for Hudson to be willing to restructure his contract, but it shouldn’t hurt his bottom line. He’s one of the best in the game and he’s still going to get paid like it.

Are More Free Agency Moves on the Way?

As Yates pointed out, the Raiders added $9.28 million in cap space by restructuring Hudson’s contract. Many will see that the team just added a bunch of cap space and assume that more agency moves are on the way. While it’s possible the team will bring some guys in on minimum contracts, they’re not about to use all that cap space on one player.

That remaining money will likely be saved for draft picks later in the month. The Raiders have two first-round picks and those players aren’t particularly cheap. The team spent on its big money targets already and now they’ll be looking for bargains.

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Dre Kirkpatrick a Good Fit?

At this point in free agency, the Raiders aren’t likely to find a true number one cornerback. There are some good players still on the market like Logan Ryan, but he wants $10 million a year, which Las Vegas simply can’t afford. The most likely outcome is that they try to find a starting cornerback early in the draft.

That said, they could still find a good fit who will probably come on the cheap. It’s been clear from defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s first two years with the team that he likes bringing in familiar faces from his time with the Cincinnati Bengals. Leon Hall, Reggie Nelson and Vontaze Burfict are the best examples of that. Well, Guenther could be reaching out to another familiar face as the Bengals have released former first-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick.

Dre Kirkpatrick's Crazy 100-Yd INT Return, But Fumbles Before the TD! | Can't-Miss Play | NFL Wk 11Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick snags the interception and takes it 100 yards…but fumbles near the goal line. Andy Dalton has to finish off the quick drive with a touchdown pass against the Denver Broncos in Week 11 of the 2017 NFL Season. Watch full games with NFL Game Pass: Sign up for Fantasy…2017-11-19T22:02:08.000Z

The cornerback started a lot of games for Guenther when he was still in Cincinnati and could be interested in a reunion. Kirkpatrick is 30 years old and his best days are probably behind him. It’s hard to imagine he’d start over Trayvon Mullen or Eli Apple. Kirkpatrick also has a pretty extensive injury history, which is concerning. However, he’s a seasoned veteran and could still have a couple of solid years left in the tank. He’d need to sign on a very small contract, but that could be the best he’s going to get.

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