Richard Seymour and the Raiders’ stint in cap hell Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Last week, we discussed the perils of kicking the salary cap can down the road via contract renegotiations in the name of more cap space today.

Happily for us, a perfect example of such mismanagement has presented itself, and with a healthy serving of Raiders schadenfreude to top it off.

It's the NFL's version of Popeye's "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today," only with the late Al Davis and defensive tackle Richard Seymour reprising the roles of Wimpy and the burger.

Trading away Seymour in 2009 was the ultimate Bill Belichick move, as he got back a 2011 first-round pick (Nate Solder) for a player entering the final year of his contract.

Oakland used its franchise tag on Seymour in 2010, to the tune of almost $13M, and then signed him to a six-year deal in 2011 that voided to two years.

Last year, new GM Reggie McKenzie was faced with a disastrous cap situation, and while he cut the bloated contracts of Stanford Routt and Kamerion Wimbley, he opted to keep Seymour around for at least another year rather than pile up even more dead money on the team's 2012 cap.

So, McKenzie reworked the Georgia alum's contract into a new five-year deal with another chance to void it after the season.

It's a gamble that didn't come close to paying off, as the team went 4-12, Seymour was limited to 361 snaps in eight games, and Oakland was then presented with the brutal choice of overpaying their aging DT with a $19.133M salary for 2013 or accept a $13.714M cap hit.

Yikes - talk about the lesser of two evils, right?

McKenzie wisely opted to void the deal, and now Seymour is a free agent who made more than $50M in four seasons with Oakland, and he'll still occupy a whopping 11.1% of their 2013 cap.

This is an extreme case, but it's exactly what can happen when restructuring a contract goes horribly wrong.

In Denver's case, they could potentially restructure the deals of Peyton Manning*, Champ Bailey, or Elvis Dumervil to free up cap room in 2013, only to have them suffer a devastating injury, or for their level of play to drop off precipitously.

Such injuries/dropoffs can occur to any player in any year, no matter their contract situation, but with the way the Broncos are currently structuring their deals, any potential damage is limited to the current year's on-field results and cap situation. When you go Oakland's route, your exposure with one player can cause multi-year damage, and in their case, they ended up paying for a double quarter-pounder and ended up with a slider.

Anyway, now that Seymour is done wreaking havoc with Oakland's salary cap, perhaps he'll be interested in playing for a couple or few million in Denver and the chance to get back to winning Super Bowls?

* Manning will be guaranteed $20M in each of the 2013 and 2014 seasons once Denver picks up his option. But if Manning suddenly becomes a lesser player, or suffers a career-ending injury unrelated to his prior neck problems, Denver will be on the hook for his 2014 salary.


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Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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