To the Ravens news...
If the Cowboys and Bryant can’t come to an agreement on a pay cut, then the team could release the eight year veteran and they could even free up $12 million in cap space if he’s designated as a post-June 1st cut. Regardless of when he is released, the Ravens should make a run and sign him.
Bryant would be the prototypical veteran signing Baltimore is well known for. The Ravens have the tendency to sign players who are 30 years or older, even with some battling injury issues at this stage of the game. Recently, they’ve signed players such as Mike Wallace and Steve Smith who some thought were done and were problematic in the locker room at the time Baltimore brought them in. Those same things that were being said about Wallace and Smith are now currently being said about Bryant. Bryant is also 29 turning 30 years old in November. All of those factors are accustomed to how Baltimore has operated when it comes to finding free agent wide receivers.
Writer note: Bryant has the talent, but would the baggage be worth consideration?
Pursuant to Section 9 of Article 4 of the NFL’s CBA, a suspension under the league’s PED policy (or the Substance Abuse policy) triggers a mandatory forfeiture of salary, based on the amount of Signing Bonus money received by the player.
This becomes really costly in Smith’s case because not only did he receive an initial $13M Signing Bonus when he agreed to the new 5-year contract in 2015, but he also received Signing Bonuses in 2016 ($6M) and 2017 ($7.725M) when he restructured his deal to help the Ravens create additional Cap space. At the time, those restructures didn’t cost Smith any money, but now, because the restructure is accomplished by turning base salary into Signing Bonus, those new bonuses are subject to salary forfeiture due to the suspension.
Writer note: The Ravens would much rather have Smith on the field, but all things considered this is a nice consolation for a team that’s up against the cap each year.
Baltimore Ravens: Marqise Lee, wide receiver
The Ravens dialed up the Dolphins last offseason about a potential trade for Jarvis Landry. Baltimore could pursue the franchised wideout in a trade, but it would be easier to sign the chain-moving Lee. With Mike Wallace on the market, Breshad Perriman doubling as a full-blown enigma and Jeremy Maclin unlikely likely to return, Baltimore’s eternal need at the receiver position rages on. Lee would serve as a solid start.
Writers note: I don’t believe Lee brings a skillset any different than Maclin, provided the Ravens retain him. If the price is right, he does serve as a cheaper, healthier, younger alternative.