With the NFL officially setting the base salary cap ($182.5 million) for the 2021 season, fans now have the ability to get a better gauge of where their team stands in the salary cap rankings. The Las Vegas Raiders may find themselves in a bit of a shoulder-shrugging position of 15th with almost $18 million still available. For reference, the Jacksonville Jaguars lead the league with $73.6 million in cap space while the Los Angeles Rams have the most work to do after coming in $33 million over the cap.
While the Raiders sit about the middle of the pack, they find themselves with the second-least amount of space in the AFC West, trailing Denver and Los Angeles while significantly ahead of Kansas City. Despite dominating the AFC over the last few years, and with Patrick Mahomes’ well-structured contract, the Kansas City Chiefs find themselves $20 million over the cap.
Las Vegas sits in an interesting position. They do not have to cut anyone before a certain deadline. Although, they do not have the ability to throw money at every big-name free agent. However, should the Raiders cut more players from their roster, these future cuts may have a bit more meaning and intent. Meaning that the cuts made before the cap announcement were made to come in under the cap at this time. However, future cuts may be directly related to a future signing the team is making.
Having around $17.9 million from the get-go shows that the early cuts and trades helped the Raiders stay above water. Despite ranking 15th in the NFL in cap space, the Raiders’ offensive spending and defensive spending find two polar opposite rankings.
When it comes to offensive spending, the Raiders currently rank ninth in the NFL, spending $98 million of their available money on the offense, meaning Derek Carr accounts for about a fourth of the Raiders’ offensive spending. However, spending close to half of their cap on offense must mean the other half goes to defense, right? Wrong.
On the contrary to the impressive offensive spending, the Raiders rank ninth from last (or 23rd) in the NFL in defensive spending, shelling out $30 million less on defense than the offense. Now, it is incredibly early in the offseason. However, without multiple defensive superstars leaving, the gap remains too large. Sure, teams that spend significantly more on offense do not have the money to level up on defense. In contrast, the Raiders’ offensive spending barely sits over 50 percent of their cap. For example, the Philadelphia Eagles are on the books for $95 million in offensive spending. Meanwhile, they spend $105 million on their defense.
The Raiders’ perfect balance is out there. To some, the perfect balance requires more offensive talent. Yet, with the direction the team is heading, something similar to the Eagles cap breakdown could favor the Raiders