Over the cap, a website dedicated to the NFL salary cap and player contracts, released their rankings of the most leveraged teams in the league. In a two-part article titled "Mortgaging the Future," they attempted to quantify relative future salary cap health for each team. The criteria used was threefold - 2017 Cap impact (2016 vs 2017 allocation), True 2017 Cap Impact (includes dead money from previous seasons) and Ultimate 2017 Cap Impact (accounts for flexibility by measuring potential cap savings from cutting the Top 10 most expensive players).
Analyst Jason Fitzgerald’s synopsis of the Ravens future cap situation was harsh:
The full listing for all 32 franchises can be found here. The Ravens three main rivals, the Steelers (20th), Patriots (23rd) and Bengals (25th), are all in healthier future cap position while also boasting more talented rosters than the Ravens this season according to general consensus.
Looking ahead to 2017, the Ravens have the fifth least cap space in the league. They utilized some creative restructuring on a few contracts this past offseason. So far, it appears the cap space was put to good use. Mike Wallace and Eric Weddle paid immediate dividends in Week 1. But the decision to push cap charge into the future could present a challenge in coming offseasons.
This leveraged position is by no means insurmountable. The Ravens can easily double their cap space next offseason by releasing a handful of aging players. Still, the future numbers should ratchet up the pressure to make the most of this season.