Salary cap space
As of March 17, 2021, the Raiders are projected to have $10,318,430 in cap space for 2021.
The Raiders rolled over $3.6 million in 2020 cap space.
March 10 update: The salary cap has been set at $182.5 million.
Perhaps no team experienced a more extreme late-season nosedive than the Las Vegas Raiders. Entering Week 11, the team had an impressive 6-3 record along with a victory over Patrick Mahomes and the defending-champion Kansas City Chiefs under its belt. With another matchup between the two division rivals on the horizon, the Raiders appeared to have a real shot at taking control of the division.
Instead, the Raiders would manage to win only two more games the rest of the way. More concerning still, they only managed to pull out a victory over the woeful New York Jets due to an ill-advised Cover 0 call from defensive coordinator Gregg Williams that cost him his job the following day. Las Vegas’ other win during that stretch required a fourth-quarter comeback against the Denver Broncos in the season finale.
Because of the implosion, the Raiders have yet to reach the playoffs during head coach Jon Gruden’s second stint with the team. While Gruden has considerable job security due to the 10-year, $100 million contract he signed in 2018, changes will still come to the franchise this offseason.
The NFL powered through its 2020 season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The league played without fans in most stadiums with limited crowds in the remaining venues. The decrease in gate revenue will most likely result in a decrease in money shared between the 32 teams. This, in turn, means the salary cap will almost certainly fall for the first time in years. The NFL and NFLPA agreed to a salary-cap floor of $175 million per team. The latest report has the number landing between $180 and $181 million, which is a good bit lower than the $198.2 million of this past season. This will result in some tough choices for many teams.
All salary cap information below comes courtesy of the NFLPA Public Salary Cap Report.
Several veterans such as tight end Jason Witten and Vic Beasley appear unlikely to return to Las Vegas next season. Witten, who turns 40 in May, has lost much of what made him one of the NFL’s most consistent players at the position and appears ready for a return to retirement. Beasley meanwhile did little during his short run with the team and might not have many stops left in his NFL career.
Some veterans have better outlooks with the team. Wide receiver Nelson Agholor resurrected his career under Gruden and fills an important niche in the offense. Versatile offensive lineman Denzelle Good demonstrated his value, starting 14 games at both left guard and right tackle while allowing just two sacks all season.
The bigger question for the Raiders centers on quarterback Derek Carr. While the veteran performed better in 2020 than he had in recent years, he still faltered in key matchups that cost the team a chance at the playoffs. With two years and only $2.5 million in prorated signing bonus remaining on his deal, Carr could provide Las Vegas with more than $19.6 million in cap savings if released. The front office did sign former first-round pick Marcus Mariota to a multiyear deal, a move which could cover for a potential Carr departure. Mariota played well filling in for Carr during a Dec. 17 matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers.