It finally happened. The Oakland Raiders released disgruntled linebacker Rolando McClain Friday afternoon, becoming general manager Reggie McKenzie‘s next player in his long list of purges this offseason. McClain joins the players sent out of Oakland in: Michael Huff, Tommy Kelly, Carson Palmer and Darrius Hayward-Bey.
According to Spotrac.com, McClain carries a $4.005 million base salary in 2013 with a $6.675 million cap hit. A total $10.895 million will become dead money for the Raiders, who are already set to have upwards to $69 million in cap space in 2014.
Drafted as the eighth overall pick in 2010, McClain struggled heavily in pass coverage but played very well against the run. Pro Football Focus rated McClain as the seventh best inside linebacker against the run in 2012. Although just appearing in 11 games last season, McClain accounted for 35 total stops — which ranked fourth on the team.
The release has been expected since the off-season began. In anticipation of his departure, McKenzie has signed linebackers Kaluka Maiava and Nick Roach. Roach played well in substitution of Chicago Bears future Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher. He has the potential of being a big steal of the 2013 free agent class. Roach posted 24 tackles and 18 stops in his four games at middle linebacker.
McClain was granted permission to facilitate a trade almost a month ago on March 19, but as anticipated, could not find a suitor. McClain has had a couple run-ins with police since his professional career began, which could be his biggest deterrent in finding employment. At 23 years old, though, he should most definitely find a team to bring him in.
The move gives Oakland the capability of addressing one more team need this offseason. They might use the extra cash to spend on cornerback Mike Jenkins, who they were showing interest in earlier this free agent period.
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