Shedding Kelly part of youth movement

March, 27, 2013
3/27/13
5:40
PM ET
It’s unfinished business day in the AFC West.

Hours after the San Diego Chargers finally booted left tackle Jared Gaither, the Oakland Raiders said so long to defensive tackle Tommy Kelly. Both were long expected to be cut.

Kelly, 32, saw his play decline last season. He had been on the team since 2003 when he was signed as an undrafted free agent. His release reportedly saves $4.775 million under the salary cap this year. Yet, he will still account for more than $6.3 million against the cap in dead money. Kelly signed a seven-year, $50.5 million deal in 2008.

He was a solid player during his best days. He was massive and tough. But he was never a unit-changing player.

There was little chance Kelly fit with the new approach of the team. The Raiders are getting younger and cheaper throughout the roster. Several veterans are not being brought back. As the Contra Costa Times pointed out, Oakland has just seven players on the roster -- including quarterback Carson Palmer, who could be released -- who have been in the league six years or more.

The team signed defensive tackles Pat Sims and Vance Walker. They could also draft Florida’s Sharrif Floyd with the No. 3 pick.

Some folks expect Kelly to get receive interest around the league. While anything can happen, I don’t see any fits in the AFC West that immediately jump out.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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