ALAMEDA — As expected, the Raiders waived veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall on Wednesday. The move nonetheless passes as nothing short of stunning.
The Raiders forked over a 2008 second-round draft pick and a 2009 fifth-rounder as well as $8 million in signing bonus and base salary this season so that they could snare Hall from the Atlanta Falcons in a trade last March.
The Raiders expected to get the Hall who garnered two Pro Bowl berths during his four seasons with the Falcons. Instead, they received a player who stood out like a beacon to opposing quarterbacks.
"When you look at our football team, you have to do something drastic, something that's going to impact your football team," Raiders coach Tom Cable said.
Hall allowed the most yardage of any cornerback through eight games, according to Stats Inc. Opposing teams targeted Hall 66 times and completed 40 passes for a league-high 566 yards.
By comparison, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha has faced nine passes in eight games.
This move had nothing to do with money and everything to do with performance, the Raiders said.
Maybe so, but the Raiders benefit a great deal by waiving Hall now. He was slated to earn $16.55 million in bonus and salary in 2009. The Raiders now don't have to account for that figure against their salary cap.
Any team that claims Hall before the 24-hour waiver window closes this afternoon would be liable for eight-seventeenths of Hall's $1 million base salary. The Raiders are on the hook for Hall's $7 million signing bonus and would have to pay Hall's entire base salary, if he goes unclaimed off waivers.
Several of Hall's teammates expressed shock, disappointment and confusion over Hall's dismissal. Asomugha said he learned of the news in a call from Hall on Tuesday night.
"He told me he was getting cut," Asomugha said, "and it was just shocking. I couldn't make any sense of it. He had eight games to prove himself. I don't think that was enough."
Strong safety Gibril Wilson said the move smacks of a team looking toward the 2009 season.
"(Hall) was a good football player, and we needed him," Wilson said. "It's kind of disappointing that we still have eight games to go, and we got rid of one of the best corners. "... I've never been in a situation where you cut one of the best players. That's strange to me. It's almost like we're throwing in the towel."
Cable took umbrage with that suggestion. The Raiders are 2-6 but only two games behind the AFC West-leading Denver Broncos.
"No way. We're going into that Coliseum on Sunday to win a football game," Cable said, "and in no way are we backing down or are we taking a step back and saying, 'We're 2-6, and we can't do this.' B.S. We're going for it."
Hall's departure clears the way for fifth-year player Chris Johnson to start. He has spent the past two seasons as a core special-teams player and backup corner.
Johnson, 29, started for an injured Asomugha Sept. 28 vs. San Diego and intercepted a Philip Rivers pass.
Hall could not be reached for comment. However, he had said last week that he finally felt comfortable in defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's scheme, and Cable had said Hall had regained his form.
"Every scheme I've been in has kind of allowed me to do what I like to do," Hall said. "But being here, I almost have to do what I'm told. It can be little bit frustrating at times.
"I'm a two-time Pro Bowler, 20 picks in my career, it's kind of hard to be told what to do, especially when you're comfortable doing something else. But I'm buying into it. I feel like it's working. I ain't got no complaints, as long as it's working."
Contact Steve Corkran at firstname.lastname@example.org.