The Oakland Raiders recently signed franchise tagged safety Tyvon Branch to a four-year $26.6 million contract with $17.6 million in guaranteed money. More importantly for the team, Branch's new deal has freed up $3.8 million in salary cap space.
This is just another in a series of roster moves designed to free GM Reggie McKenzie's team from salary cap jail. Among those moves were quarterback Carson Palmer restructuring his contract and allowing the departures in free agency of OLB Kamerion Wimbley (Titans) and RB Michael Bush (Bears).
Looking to February 2013, the Raiders will have 50 players under contract with a combined salary of $130 million. With the NFL's salary cap projected to stay relatively flat at around $122-123 million in 2013, the team has some serious work to do to clear enough space to sign next year's draft picks and fill out their roster.
Who's next in line for Oakland? It is a fair bet that Tyvon Branch may be right back in that chair again in 2013. His contract contains no offset money for next year and with a cap number of $10.9 million, Branch could find himself in talks to redo his recently signed deal.
So much for getting out of "salary cap jail".