Well, here’s the first big surprising move of the offseason.
Oakland released cornerback Stanford Routt on Thursday, less than a year after the team gave him a “five-year, $54.5 million” contract. (It was originally a three-year, $31.5 million deal, then the team restructured the deal.)
Of course, Al Davis was the one who gave Routt that contract in 2011. G.M. Reggie McKenzie has since arrived and clearly doesn’t see Routt as a cornerback worth more than $10 million-per-season.
It’s a surprising move because it was reported last year that Routt’s $5 million 2012 base salary was guaranteed. It’s possible it was only guaranteed if Routt was on the roster past a certain date. (Once again, even “guaranteed” money isn’t always guaranteed.)
Routt started last season well and enjoyed a fine 2010 season, but he struggled badly down the stretch. He got picked on often despite having the tag as Oakland’s top cornerback.
As a 28-year-old with a lot of starting experience, Routt figures to attract plenty of free agent interest. For Routt, free agency starts Friday.