Raiders cut WR Jordy Nelson, QB A.J. McCarron

Moves provide Oakland with cap, cash flexibility

Jordy Nelson’s time with the Raiders was short-lived. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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The Raiders have released both wide receiver Jordy Nelson and quarterback A.J. McCarron, they announced Thursday afternoon.

Nelson was the Raiders’ No. 1 wide receiver at the end of last season, and the team paid him a $3.6 million bonus late in 2018. His release open up over $3.5 million in cap space, according to Over The Cap, since he carried a cap number of over $5.3 million but a dead money hit of $1.8 million. His $3 million base salary for 2019 would’ve become fully guaranteed if he was on the roster Friday, so the Raiders save cash with the move, too.

Nelson caught 63 passes for 739 yards and three touchdowns in his first season with the Raiders after entering as the team’s highest-profile offseason signing. From Weeks 6-10, Nelson caught only five passes for 36 yards. In the final five games of the season in which he played, however, he reeled in 38 passes for 386 receiving yards.

Nelson, who turns 34 in late May, had this to say when asked late last year if he planned to play for the Raiders in 2019:

“It’s not always the player’s decision. But yeah, that’s the plan. We’ve enjoyed our time out here so far, enjoyed being with the team and starting the rebuilding process and being a part of that.”

McCarron served as Derek Carr’s backup in 2018, seeing time in only two games and throwing three passes. His release frees up $5 million in cap space, according to OTC, which also notes that McCarron’s $3 million roster bonus for 2019 would’ve become guaranteed if he was on the roster on Friday and $1.1 million of his $1.9 million base salary for 2019 would’ve become guaranteed if he was on the roster on Sunday.

The only other quarterback employed by the Raiders is Nathan Peterman, who’s signed to a reserve/future contract. There are several mid-round quarterback options in this year’s draft that Jon Gruden is familiar with from the Senior Bowl, like North Carolina State’s Ryan Finley, Washington State’s Gardner Minshew II and Buffalo’s Tyree Jackson.

 

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