Three Raiders released to begin free agency

While other teams around the league were busy calling wanted players, Reggie McKenzie and the Oakland Raiders front office was busy releasing current players to make some cap room, as was first reported in the PREMIUM section of RaiderFans.net.

The Raiders announced through their twitter account the release of safety Michael Huff, wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and defensive end Dave Tollefson. The announcement came about four hours into the much-awaited free agency period on Tuesday.

“The Raiders would like to thank Michael Huff and Darrius Heyward-Bey for their contributions to our organization, both on the field and especially in our community, over the last several years. We sincerely wish them well in their future endeavors,” the Raiders said through their twitter account.

McKenzie was believed to have about $8.5 million to spend before the move, but by looking at the numbers, it appears he will have closer to $25 million after the releases.

Heyward-Bey was believed to be a salary cap casualty because of his high contract and lack of consistency, but Huff came a little bit of a surprise. Though Huff’s release does save the team another $6.5 million or so.

Though Tollefson’s release only saves the team about $1 million, the combined savings by the three moves saves the team about $15 million in cap space should the team split the dead money over two years for Huff and Heyward-Bey.

Late owner Al Davis was largely criticized for taking Heyward-Bey before two-time Fred Biletnikoff Award winner Michael Crabtree. Heyward-Bey hauled in 140 receptions for 2,071 yards and 11 touchdowns in his four years with the Raiders.

Huff was drafted out of the University of Texas as a free safety but later switched to cornerback this last season due to injuries and a thin corner position.

Oakland will get busy looking for players to fill the many holes in the roster, including the one left by linebacker Philip Wheeler, who apparently is heading to the Miami Dolphins, according to ProFootballTalk.com.

In other news, the Raiders were able to re-sign Phillip Adams to the roster with a one-year deal.

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Author: Chris McClain

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