There is an incredible site out there, and if you have not been there yet, I encourage you to take a look. That site is overthecap.com, led by the marvelous Jason Fitzgerald. They are doing an incredible job addressing areas of the sport which just are not covered elsewhere.
Their most recent series of articles provides a fascinating look into each team in the league's roster makeup, evaluating the composition of each team's roster what they call "cap texture" and "roster texture." For a deeper explanation of the terms, here is the article introducing the concept of "texture."
Since this is a Ravens site, I will be sticking to a purely Ravens evaluation. For now they are only able to evaluate last year's roster, since the 2015 roster is not yet set. Here is the average roster composition:
To understand the chart, here is the explanation of how players are categorized:
The Six Classes Of Texture
Elite 1-32 $22,412,500 $11,250,000 High 33-160 $11,250,000 $5,400,000 Middle 161-320 $5,400,000 $3,202,125 Low 321 and lower $3,200,000
Author Nick Korte notes that the six slices of the pie are relatively close to each other in proportion when it comes to cap spending. However, while the three highest paid categories (Elite, High, and Middle veteran players) make up only 10 roster spots on average (about 1/6th of the roster), they typically account for half of all cap expenditures. Similarly, and as you’d expect, while players on Rookie contracts constitute about 5/8ths of a roster, they only take up about a quarter of the spending.
How do the Ravens compare to the league averages? Very Favorably!
Korte had some interesting things to say about the Ravens charts:
Interestingly, despite being a top team, the Ravens did not spend very much money in 2014 on top players. In fact, they had 5 players in the top 3 categories compared with 10 for the average team. Also, the team tied with the Jaguars for the most players on rookie contracts. This will only continue to increase, as the Ravens has been utilizing a full draft class each year, including compensatory picks, and hitting in nearly all of them.
So there you have it. The Raven seem to be playing chess when everyone else is playing checkers with regard to roster management. At some point soon, the Ravens drafting and developing ability will likely result in such a talented roster the team will be a top contender for an extended period of time. That time looks to be now. The future sure is bright in Baltimore!