The NFL’s salary cap is a confusing rubix cube, where not only are the basic proponents of every player’s deal unique, but after all the ‘salary vs. guaranteed vs. cap hit’ is finished, bonuses, escalators and other events transpire in which only further transform the puzzle to confuse fans on how much money their favorite team can wheel-and-deal during free agency.
As of now, the Ravens are hurting in the cap department, and by only kicking the can down the road may they receive breathing room for the upcoming season.
Using spotrac.com, I’ve made the following roster moves:
- Jeremy Maclin — $5M
- Danny Woodhead — $1.8M
- Austin Howard — $3M
- Lardarius Webb — $1.75M
- Albert McClellan — $1.25M
Total Savings = $12.8 million
- Brent Urban — one-year/$790,000 (vet minimum, no incentives)
Total savings = $12.01M
Brandon Carr is expected to stay, therefore I did not cut the cornerback. It makes sense, due to Jimmy Smith’s unending injury issues and the uncertainty of Tavon Young’s return.
As of now, the details of Urban’s contract have not been released, therefore I’m applying the cheapest scenario.
With the aforementioned moves, the Baltimore Ravens stand around $17.134 million in cap space. This money isn’t all to throw around in free agency, though.
According to Brian, the Ravens stand around $4.8 million before cuts. This also does not include Brent Urban’s deal.
McFarland points out the Ravens have seven ERFA’s, which cost around $300,000, whittling the pre-cut cap space to $4.5 million.
Going off McFarland’s figure of $4.5 million, but adding the $12.01 million in savings from the spotrac cuts and re-signing, the Ravens, post-cut, post-tender, stand around $16.51 million in cap space.
No, the Ravens don’t get to drop all of this in free agency either.
9/ Plus, that doesn't factor in that players on IR count against the Cap too - as we saw last year w/ the Ravens - so that can also add to the number of players counting against the Cap & eating up more Cap space.— Brian McFarland (@RavensSalaryCap) March 7, 2018
Going by the moves left to make and figures from Brian:
- Cut $3 million off the top for the upcoming rookie class. Ravens left with $13.51M
- Cut an additional $1 million for the transition into counting 53 players, as opposed to the Rule of 51. Ravens left with: $12.51M
- Practice squad needs money, and that takes off nearly $1.3 million, according to McFarland’s tweet. Ravens left with: $11.21M
- Finally, the $5 million the Ravens will need for the in-season injuries, which never cease. Ravens left with: $6.21M
It’s becoming clear; the Ravens are incapable of any ‘splash’ in free agency without restructuring contracts yet again. That’s been the plan, according to Steve Bisciotti, as mentioned during the ‘State of the Ravens’ earlier this offseason, but it’s not a great option as it’s the reason for the current state of affairs.
If the front office believes this franchise is capable of a deep post-season run, I understand the ‘kick-the-can’ method of pushing the back-loaded contracts one more year. But this franchise has missed the postseason for three consecutive seasons now, and this was against a handful of back-up quarterbacks and bad competition last year. This is a crossroads for the Ravens, and depending upon the moves in the next couple weeks, we’ll see the final decisions unravel from Ozzie, Eric and Steve.