ALAMEDA (CBS / AP) ― The Oakland Raiders will not bring back offensive lineman Robert Gallery next season, ending the tackle’s seven-year run with the team.
Raiders senior executive John Herrera said Thursday that the decision was made because of the vast difference in contract proposals.
“The only thing that was mutually agreed upon is his numbers were way out of line with ours,” Herrera said. “Gallery wanted about $8 million a year and that was way too much money. We’re being real honest about it. We were in the $2.5 million range. There was a huge gap there, a huge difference in what they asked for and what we wanted to pay.”
Gallery told ESPN earlier Thursday that he and Raiders owner Al Davis had come to a “mutual agreement” that it was time for him to move on.
“I appreciate the start that they and Mr. Davis gave me and I truly have enjoyed my time wearing the silver and black,” he told ESPN. “I wish them well, I thank the fans and I take away great memories of my time in Oakland.”
Gallery was the second overall pick in the 2004 draft and was expected to anchor Oakland’s line for years at left tackle. He struggled early in his career, allowing 10.5 sacks and committing eight penalties in 10 games in 2006.
But he moved to left guard the following season when the team switched to a zone-blocking scheme under former line coach Tom Cable. Gallery spent the past four seasons there and had a strong relationship with Cable, who became head coach in 2008, but was replaced by Hue Jackson in January. Jackson plans to use more power-blocking in his offense this season.
Gallery started 75 games in his career, including 12 last season. The Raiders lost at least 11 games in Gallery’s first six seasons before finishing 8-8 in 2010. Herrera pointed out that Oakland had the same winning percentage with Gallery in the lineup – going 6-6 – as they did when they split the four games he missed with a hamstring injury.
“It appeared based on the conversation that we had, that they weren’t all that interested in having him come back,” said Gallery’s agent, Rick Smith. “They wanted to put their younger guys in a position to play. That was the impression we got.”
Gallery might not be the only longtime Raider who won’t return next season. After Oakland gave cornerback Stanford Routt a $31.5 million, three-year deal last week, it appears likely that Pro Bowler Nnamdi Asomugha will leave after eight years in Oakland.
The $16.8 million option for 2012 for Asomugha voided when he didn’t reach certain benchmarks. Davis questioned in January whether that money for Asomugha would be better spent on two or three players.
The Raiders have been aggressive about keeping some of their potential free agents. They have made more than $80 million in commitments in deals for Routt, defensive tackle Richard Seymour, linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, defensive tackle John Henderson and backup running back Rock Cartwright. Oakland will not have to pay any of those players until the first game next season.
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