Raiders Cutting Overpaid Free Agent Bust: Report

cory littleton

Getty Former Las Vegas Raiders LB Cory Littleton.

Back in 2020, Cory Littleton was supposed to be the savior at linebacker for the Las Vegas Raiders. The former Pro Bowler for the Los Angeles Rams was considered one of the best all-around linebackers in the NFL. It quickly became evident that he was not the same player once he hit the field in Las Vegas.

In 2021, Littleton lost his starting job to rookie Divine Deablo and the writing was on the wall in regards to his future. In an unsurprising move, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler is reporting that the Raiders are cutting the linebacker as a post-June-1 release.

Unfortunately, the team is going to have a ton of dead cap to deal with due to the Littleton contract. There will be $4 million in dead cap this upcoming season and then almost $10 million next year, per Spotrac. The team will save $11.75 million in salary cap for this offseason.

The new Raiders brass must’ve been quite low on Littleton to let him go now considering the dead cap. Signing the linebacker is one of the biggest free agent mistakes the team has made in years.

ALL the latest Raiders news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Raiders newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Raiders!

What This Move Means for Raiders

The decision to cut Littleton as a June 1 designation is notable because the $11.75 million in cap space won’t open up until later. That means it won’t really help the Raiders at the beginning in free agency. That said, it’s clear that the team must have plans to spend some money. If the plan was to go bargain hunting and have a bit of a rebuilding year with the new staff, then keeping Littleton would’ve been more likely.

The move also means that there could be some changes at linebacker. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will be bringing in a new defense so it remains to be seen how he feels about the Raiders’ current personnel. Denzel Perryman and Deablo will likely stick around this season but Nick Kwiatkoski could be following Littleton to free agency soon.

Raiders Restructure Contracts to Create Cap Space

Cutting Littleton wasn’t the only move the Raiders did to create cap space. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the team has restructured the contracts of left tackle Kolton Miller and running back Kenyan Drake. The moves create $14.525 million in cap space year.

It’s been a question for weeks how the Raiders might create cap space heading into the offseason. These moves give the team a lot more money to work with. Last year, the New England Patriots were big spenders in free agency and new Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler played a big role in that. It’ll be interesting to see if he brings the same philosophy to Las Vegas.

With the Chargers and Broncos making big moves in recent days, the AFC West is going to be tougher than ever. If the Raiders hope to keep pace, they need to make some big moves. They now have the cap space to pull it off.

READ NEXT: AFC Team Could Go ‘YOLO’ in Bombshell Trade for Raiders QB: Report

Read More