If the Oakland Raiders decide that they want to part ways with Nate Allen and save some money on a guy who might not have been worth it in the first place, they will have to make that decision soon. Allen’s contract states that if he is on the roster three days following the Super Bowl, $4.9 million of his salary becomes guaranteed.
When the Raiders signed Allen last offseason, he was really the only upgrade they made in the defensive secondary. The belief was that Allen’s ability to create turnovers would be what that group needed to be more successful. Unfortunately we never found out if Reggie McKenzie and Jack Del Rio’s plan was a good one, since Allen spent the majority of the season sidelined with injuries.
In the small amount of time Allen did play, you could somewhat see why the Raiders liked him. During the preseason he had a game with two interceptions and a few other plays, and he had one interception during the regular season in five games of action. But he also had a lot of moments where you saw why Eagles fans were not a fan of his. He had a number of missed tackles in the run game and allowed more than one receiver to get over the top of him for a big play.
The signing was controversial when it happened as many believed the Raiders drastically overpaid for Allen. The contract makes Allen the 15th highest-paid safety in the league. But with the contract front-loaded, Allen’s salary would rank 20th among safeties in 2016.
However, cutting Allen creates another hole in a secondary that already looks like Swiss cheese. For that reason, the Raiders may need to just eat Allen’s salary for another season because they have nothing better going at this point. They already need a safety and a corner at a minimum, not to mention a middle linebacker, backup running back, and a number of guys on each side of the line. Creating another need by cutting Allen could turn out great if they get an upgrade, or horrific if they get caught with their pants down.
Allen may not end up being worth his pay, but his agent clearly was because this clause in the contract will make it very hard for the Raiders to feel comfortable cutting him this year.