Raiders creating more cap room

The Oakland Raiders gained significant salary-cap room by restructuring the deal of safety Tyvon Branch, according to the Contra Costa Times.The savings is expected to be about $4.3 million, according to ESPN’s John Clayton. The Raiders had less than $1 million in cap room before the Branch deal.

The paper reported that Branch added two big years of contract money in 2016 and 2017. Branch signed an extension last year. While the move helps Oakland now, the Raiders need to be careful and not to do too many of these type of deals. These are the type of deals that get teams in cap trouble down the road. But it was necessary to help the team this year.

Quarterback Carson Palmer, defensive tackle Tommy Kelly and receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey are all likely facing pay cuts if they want to remain in Oakland. Defensive back Michael Huff could also get a restructuring for the Raiders.

Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie said at the NFL combine he doesn’t expect to have a ton of room to bring in outside free agents. McKenzie hopes to bring in some mid-level free agents. The team has already visited with defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, who was recently cut by the Eagles.

In other AFC West news:

  • As expected, punter Britton Colquitt is one of the restricted free agents Denver is going to give a contract tender to.

  • The Eagles and Texans have already reportedly reached out to right tackle Eric Winston. He was cut by the Chiefs on Wednesday night. Houston cut Winston last year because of a tight salary cap. Meanwhile, Winston said in a radio interview he thinks the Chiefs will take a tackle with the No. 1 pick in the draft.

  • Oakland backup quarterback Terrelle Pryor continues to say the right things as he awaits his chance to play.