The Oakland Raiders spent most of their off season attempting to deal with severe salary cap issues. As a result of being massively over the salary cap to start the off season, the Raiders were forced to let three important players walk away, either through free agency or by being cut. Kamerion Wimbley, Stanford Routt and Michael Bush will all be playing for different teams in 2012, and all three were replaced by players who came at a much smaller number in Shawntae Spencer, Philip Wheeler and Mike Goodson.
Despite all of the moves first year general manager Reggie McKenzie made this off season, the Raiders are still not in a place where they do not have to worry about the salary cap and that means that Cedric Benson, even at a veteran's minimum, is too expensive for the Raiders.
CSN Bay Area's Paul Gutierrez reports that the Raiders have the second least amount of cap space available, after only the Baltimore Ravens, and the Raiders still have two very important draft picks to sign. Both third round pick Tony Bergstrom and 5th round pick Juron Criner have yet to be signed, and both could be impactful players this season, so the Raiders do need to get them signed.
According to Gutierrez, if both Bergstrom and Criner are signed to the minimum allowed under the new collective bargaining agreement, the Raiders would have just over $400,000.00 in salary cap space. Cedric Benson has been playing in the NFL for seven years. The veteran minimum for a player who has been in the NFL for seven to nine years is $825,000.00. That means Benson would cost more than twice what the Raiders would have available after signing their two remaining rookies. Given the lack of quality depth on the Raiders, it is highly unlikely that McKenzie will find someone to cut in order to make room for a fourth running back.