The news came in the form of a single sentence on the club's Twitter account but spoke volumes about how the Raiders intend to go about business in the post-Al Davis era:
"The Raiders have released cornerback Stanford Routt.''
In the first major personnel move with Reggie McKenzie as general manager and Dennis Allen as coach, the cornerback Davis chose over Nnamdi Asomugha was sent packing Thursday despite the team's deep investment in him.
Routt, 28, was signed last offseason to a three-year, $31.5 million contract extension -- a deal that at the time made him the third-highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. The value of the deal grew to five years and $54.5 million with a July restructuring that reportedly included $20 million guaranteed. According to multiple reports, Routt's $5 million salary in 2012 -- not an exorbitant sum for a starting cornerback -- also would have been guaranteed had he been on the roster Friday.
The deal was a head-scratcher from the beginning. Routt had lost his job two seasons earlier to Chris Johnson, and Davis chose to retain him while making no effort to re-sign Asomugha, a perennial Pro Bowl performer.
Routt's performance in 2011 fell considerably short of expectations. He allowed nine touchdown passes and led the NFL in penalties with 17, according to ProFootballFocus. His four interceptions ranked second on the team to Matt Giordano.
Reached by phone Thursday, Routt declined to comment. His agent, Vann McElroy, the former Raiders safety, told the NFL Network that Routt already has lined up visits with Tennessee and Buffalo.
McKenzie had said after the Jan. 30 news conference announcing Allen as coach that the team would begin examining contracts and personnel while putting its finances and salary cap situation in order.
"From where we are, we've got some contracts that are kind of out of whack, but in discussions and viewing the cap situation, we should be fine," McKenzie said.
Routt isn't the only player on the Raiders' leaky defense who was due big money next season. Tackle Richard Seymour is guaranteed half of his $15 million in 2012, and free safety Michael Huff's four-year, $32 million extension reportedly includes a $4 million roster bonus March 16 and a $4 million salary in 2012.
Outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley signed a five-year contract extension during training camp worth $48 million with a reported $29 million in guarantees and is due an $11 million salary.
Other salaries that appear large considering the playing time and production include Johnson ($3.5 million) and defensive tackle John Henderson ($4 million). Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly is scheduled to make $6 million in 2012.
Huff was told before the end of the season he would be moved to cornerback, but that was under the previous coaching regime.
With Routt's release plus the release of impending free agent Lito Sheppard, the only cornerbacks on the roster are Johnson and second-year men DeMarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa.
Cornerbacks scheduled for free agency in 2012 include Tracy Porter (New Orleans), Cortland Finnegan (Titans) and Carlos Rogers (49ers). Allen was Porter's position coach in New Orleans when Allen intercepted a Peyton Manning pass and returned it 74 yards to clinch a 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
The Raiders also announced the addition of two coaches, bringing in Keith Burns as assistant special teams coach and Johnny Holland to coach linebackers. Burns, a former defensive coordinator at San Jose State, coached the secondary at Mississippi last season.
Holland was fired as Houston Texans linebackers coach before the 2011 season.