The Oakland Raiders released Kamerion Wimbley on Friday just one year into a $48 million, five-year deal in the latest cost-cutting move by the franchise under new general manager Reggie McKenzie.
The departure of Wimbley, a Wichita Northwest graduate, means the Raiders are no longer on the hook for an additional $4.5 million of guaranteed money for the 2012 season.
“We tried to make it work all afternoon, but just too many constraints with (the) Raiders cap situation,” Wimbley’s agent, Joe Linta, said in an email. “Reggie McKenzie is a real pro and we appreciate how he handled it.”
Oakland gave Wimbley the big contract last summer instead of allowing him to play on an $11.3 million franchise tender. He got paid $5 million in 2011 under the restructured deal and is still guaranteed an additional $6.5 million from the Raiders even after he signs with another team. The Raiders would have been on the hook for $4.5 million more in 2012 if Wimbley was on the roster Saturday, as well as an additional $13 million in guaranteed money for the rest of the deal, which led to the decision to let him go.
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Wimbley will likely be highly sought after now that he is a free agent. He has experience playing outside linebacker and defensive end in 4-3 alignments, as well as outside linebacker in 3-4 systems.
Wimbley was an effective pass rusher in his two seasons with the Raiders with 16 sacks.
Wimbley was a first-round pick by Cleveland in 2006 and had 26 1/2 sacks in four seasons before being dealt to Oakland in March 2010 for a third-round draft pick.
The Raiders have cut seven players so far this offseason, including five starters from the team that went 8-8 in 2011, as McKenzie and new coach Dennis Allen put their own stamp on the team in the first offseason since the death of longtime owner Al Davis.
McKenzie had talked about how he inherited some contracts that were “out of whack” and he has worked on shedding some of them. The Raiders previously cut starting cornerbacks Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson, starting tight end Kevin Boss, right guard Cooper Carlisle, backup defensive tackle John Henderson and backup safety Hiram Eugene.
Boss and Routt have already found a new team in Kansas City, as well as free agent quarterback Jason Campbell (Chicago), receiver Chaz Schilens (New York Jets), and running back Rock Cartwright (San Francisco).