With NFL teams combined carrying more than a billion dollars in salary cap space this offseason, the quantity of pure salary cap related player releases should be less than in previous years. Traditionally, the Baltimore Ravens have preferred to sign veterans who were released from their contracts because they do not count against the compensatory draft pick formula. The danger in signing cap casualties is that they can be risky - starting caliber veterans are not usually released unless they bring major injury risk or are nearing the end of their careers.
Three potential cap casualties that Ravens fans should monitor:
Nick Mangold, Center, Jets
The Jets are coming off of a five win season and are $8 million over the cap. Mangold is 33 years old and offers $9 million in salary cap savings. He has been one of the best centers in the league throughout his career, but missed half of last season with a severe ankle injury.
Doug Free, Right Tackle, Cowboys
Dallas is in the worst cap position in the NFL at $13 million over, yet they have several cost cutting avenues available to them. Free could be retained, but if he is cut he would give the Cowboys $5 million in net cap saving. He is 33 years old and not much better than league average, but will probably be the best veteran right tackle on the market if Rick Wagner signs an inflated deal elsewhere.
Brandon Marshall, Wide Receiver, Jets
Another Jet, Marshall’s contract brings an opportunity for $7.5 million in salary cap relief. His numbers dropped from 109-1502-14 in 2015 to 59-788-3 last year. Still, he can serve as a dependable possession receiver for a couple more seasons.