OAKLAND (CBS/AP) – The Oakland Raiders cut two more players Wednesday as part of an offseason overhaul, letting go of longtime starting right guard Cooper Carlisle and reserve defensive tackle John Henderson.
Oakland has cut six players so far this offseason, including four starters from the team that went 8-8 in 2011. The latest moves give the Raiders close to $10 million in salary cap room, allowing them to fill some holes through free agency.
The recent cuts have left plenty of important openings and another key player could be on the way out soon as well. Starting outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, one of the team’s pass rushers, also could be let go if he does not agree to restructure his contract this week. Wimbley, who is guaranteed $6.5 million already for 2012, will get another $4.5 million if he is not cut or doesn’t restructure his contract by the close of business Friday.
That’s all part of the big changes for the Raiders under new general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen, who are running the team in the first offseason since the death of longtime owner Al Davis.
The team had previously cut starting cornerbacks Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson, starting tight end Kevin Boss, and backup safety Hiram Eugene. Oakland also restructured deals with quarterback Carson Palmer, defensive tackle Richard Seymour, safety Michael Huff and linebacker Aaron Curry to create more salary cap room after McKenzie had said earlier in the offseason that the team had some contracts that were “out of whack.”
Carlisle, who turns 35 in August, was owed $3 million for 2012. He joined the Raiders as a free agent in 2007 and started all but one game for Oakland over the last five years. He had worked with new offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, who held the same position in Oakland in 2007-08, and has experience in the zone blocking system the Raiders are returning to this season but was let go anyway.
Henderson, 33, spent the past two seasons with the Raiders and was owed $4 million for 2012. He played 13 games last season but was limited by a knee injury and the Raiders said he failed his physical. He had 49 solo tackles in 22 games with the Raiders the past two seasons and was considered a strong run defender in the middle. Henderson was a two-time Pro Bowler in Jacksonville.