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Raiders mailbag: How will team use cap relief from Garoppolo?

Updated June 7, 2024 - 2:15 pm

The Raiders are closing in on the final stage of their offseason.

All that remains is a mandatory three-day minicamp this week, followed by a long break before opening training camp in Costa Mesa, California, in late July.

Their fans have plenty of questions. Here is a sample of what arrived in this week’s mailbag:

Ty Detloff (@TyDetloff): With the increase in salary cap space, do you see them picking up any free agents, and if so who?

Vincent Bonsignore: The Raiders now have roughly $34 million in cap space after quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract officially fell off the books this week.

But it’s important to remember that cap space and spending budget don’t always precisely align. While the Raiders have $34 million in cap space, that does not mean they now have $34 million in actual cash to spend.

What is the actual budget?

Well, teams aren’t obligated to declare that number. But with the 2024 salary cap set at $255.4 million per team, and the Raiders slated to spend $248.3 million in cash for this year’s roster, it’s safe to conclude they are near their spending budget.

Whatever cash is available will likely be set aside for emergency use.

That doesn’t mean the cap space is insignificant. Teams can roll cap space over from one year to the next, so whatever space they have now will come in handy next offseason when they will be dealing with a handful of pending free agents.

Matt Berger (@matt_berger): I think the success of the 2024 season is going to fall heavily on the offensive line. Should we be concerned about early injuries with Kolton Miller and Jackson Powers-Johnson?

Bonsignore: In a general sense, no. The Raiders are being cautious with both players, as they should be this time of year. There is no sense that either player’s season is in danger of being compromised.

In a broader sense, the Raiders will have a plan in place to manage Miller throughout the season. Coming off a shoulder injury that cost him some games at the end of last season, they are determined to get him through this season as clean as possible.

ledtear (@ledtear): Hypothetically, let’s say Aidan O’Connell wins the quarterback race and Carter Bradley looks really good. Is cutting Gardner Minshew an option, or is that financially not feasible?

Bonsignore: Not an option, for various reasons. The Raiders guaranteed Minshew $15 million on his two-year deal. No matter how good Bradley looks, what sense does it make to eat that $15 million? The Raiders brought Minshew in because he is a proven commodity as a solid backup quarterback who, if needed, can handle starting duties. It’s a valuable asset to have on a team, and one the Raiders have already invested decent money in.

Alan in Vegas (@alaninvegas): How’s the vibe on the practice field compared to weeks 13-18 of last season?

Bonsignore: Lively. It feels like they picked up right where they left off.

Raider Z (@RaiderZ11361754): Who played left tackle and left guard when Miller and Powers-Johnson were out? Who got more reps at outside cornerback across from Jack Jones?

Bonsignore: Andrus Peat played a lot of left tackle. Jordan Meredith and some others have rotated at the guard spot. Jakorian Bennett is getting the majority of first-team reps at cornerback.

Boo (@decallahan58): Is Anthony Brown just being used as a camp arm or does he have a chance to be the third quarterback?

Bonsignore: The Raiders are giving Brown an earnest opportunity to make the team. They certainly haven’t designated him as simply a camp arm.

Bob Beck (@bobngenia1): Is it time to panic because wide receiver Davante Adams is not attending minicamps?

Bonsignore: One, Adams has been present throughout the voluntary offseason program. He isn’t holding out or simply not attending. He’s been in the building, just not on the field during the open practices.

Secondly, there is a big difference between organized team activities, which the Raiders wrapped up this week, and the mandatory minicamp, which starts Tuesday. One is voluntary, the other is mandatory. Just as Adams has been in attendance at OTAs, he is expected to be in attendance at minicamp.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X.

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