Earlier this week, I wrote about the offseason to-do list for the Oakland Raiders and one of the top priorities was to re-evaluate the entire roster. Many fans start the offseason thinking about re-signing impending free agents and bringing in new talent through free agency and the draft. But before any of that happens, the team needs to take an inventory of the roster and make decisions on all players, not just the ones they are forced to make decisions on because of free agency.
Because of that, we will be doing a series on players whoÂ are under contract but the team might be taking a close look at anyway.
First up is defensive tackle Dan Williams.
At first glance, it might seem weird to consider cutting Williams considering the fact that many see defensive tackle as a huge need for the Raiders. But whatâ€™s missing from that thought process is the type of DT the Raiders need. They have two run stuffing, block eating tackles in Williams, Justin Ellis and Stacy McGee. But when Mario Edwards, Jr. went down with an injury it revealed a severe lack of ability to get pressure in the pass rush from the middle of the defensive line.
So while defensive tackle is a need for Oakland, Dan Williams is not the kind of DT they need to add. Plus, both Williams had a down year while McGee had one of his best years in Silver and Black. After a strong first season with the Raiders, Williams was unable to replicate his performance in 2016. He showed up to training camp overweight and was dropped in the depth chart because of it. He then followed up with a rather lackluster season only recording 17 tackles, a dramatic step back from the 48 he tallied in 2015.
Meanwhile, Williams makes significantly more than both McGee and Ellis.
Williams has a base salary of $4,350,000 (12th highest on the team) while Ellisâ€™ base salary is $690,000. McGeeâ€™s is set to be a free agent but his base salary this past season was $675,000 and can be re-signed for much cheaper than what it would cost to keep Williams on the team.
Thanks to Reggie McKenzieâ€™s tendency to front load contracts, Williams can be cut with no dead money. That gives the team his full contract amount, adding over $4 million to the salary cap.
The smart move here would be to start by trying to re-structure Williamsâ€™ contract. If heâ€™s willing to take a big pay cut the way that Nate Allen did last offseason, he might still have a future with the Raiders. If heâ€™s unwilling to take a big pay cut, Williams is likely to find his way to the free agent market this offseason where he will land with another team.