The Ravens experienced a down year in 2015, but that did not stop several young players from experiencing up years. Brandon Williams was among the top players at his position for the second straight year, and right tackle Rick Wagner had a solid year, albeit not as impressive as his elite performance in 2014. However, he was coming off a
Per the resident cap expert on Russell Street Report, Brian McFarland:
As expected, NLFPA records now indicate that DT Brandon Williams and OT Rick Wagner have earned their Proven Performance Escalators. They will see their 2016 base salaries increase by approximately $1M, which will increase their Cap numbers by that amount also.
The Proven Performance Escalator (PPE) was put in place as part of the new rookie wage scale, which was implemented by the 2011 CBA. Because the new rookie wage scale greatly reduced the compensation over the first 4 years of a draft pick’s career and, for lower round draft picks, took away their chance at becoming a Restricted Free Agent (RFA) after their third year in the league, the PPE was put in place to allow them to earn an increase salary if they "performed" well. So, for players drafted in rounds 3 through 7, the PPE allowed those lower draft picks to make the equivalent of the lowest RFA tender if they reached a CBA-mandated performance level.
The player’s "performance" is measured by playing time, so the escalator is earned if the player either (1) plays in 35% of offensive or defensive snaps in 2 of the player’s first 3 seasons or (2) plays in 35% of the cumulative snaps over his first 3 seasons.
Both Williams and Wagner easily exceeded the 35% threshold and will see their base salaries increase from $685K and $675K, respectively. The exact amount of the low RFA tender is tied to the yearly increase in the Salary Cap, so the exact amount of the RFA tenders, and thus the PPE, will not be known until early March. Currently, the NFLPA is showing the Escalators for Williams and Wagner at $1.696M, which would represent a 10% increase in the Cap and RFA tender.
This cuts into the Ravens cap room by $2 million, but it was to be expected. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk just missed out on the threshold this year, with only 33.7% of the snaps.