After the Oakland Raiders disastrous performance in a 48-21 Super Bowl loss to Tampa Bay, conventional wisdom suggested that the Raiders salary cap situation would force them to strip the team upside down.
That reasoning was also based on Oakland being an estimated $48 million dollars over the salary cap. Have there been changes? Yes. Earthshaking? No. Should it be surprising that Oakland did not completely tear the team apart? No.
The Raiders released wide receiver James Jett, running back Terry Kirby, defensive tackle Sam Adams, cornerback Tory James, defensive end Regan Upshaw and safety Anthony Dorsett. James and Upshaw have since signed with Cincinnati and Washington respectively.
The Raiders also restructured several contracts to get under the salary cap and signed defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield Wednesday. The San Francisco 49ers recently released Stubblefield. Fullback Jon Ritchie, an unrestricted free agent, signed with Philadelphia while starting right guard Mo Collins, also an unrestricted free agent, figures to be a high priority for Oakland to keep.
Age was another reason why many folks believed Oakland would tear the team down for salary cap reasons. The Raiders may have their share of players over 35 such as Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, Rich Gannon, Trace Armstrong, Bill Romanowski and Rod Woodson. Armstrong, however, is the only one in the group whose performance has declined. Armstrong, who agreed to a restructured contract, has landed on injured reserve the last two seasons.
There's another reason why it is not completely shocking that Oakland has not torn the team upside down. The Raiders have had only two bad stretches in franchise history (1985-1-1989 and 1995-1999) but those times were not the result of rebuilding. Those teams simply had poor chemistry and could not stop the bleeding in time.
In addition, when a team reaches the Super Bowl, it means players were productive. So why tear it down?
Vince D'Adamo can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org