In 2019, the Ravens will suffer the fourth-largest amount of dead money in the NFL, according to Over The Cap. Only the Dolphins, Giants and Jaguars eclipse the Ravens’ $23.72 million in dead money.
Now, each team in the NFL has dead money from various cuts, ranging from the Chicago Bears and their lowly total of $920,000 to the Dolphins $36.4 million from their various cuts, including Ryan Tannehill ($18.4 million) and somehow still on payroll Ndamukong Suh ($13.1 million).
Transitioning back to Baltimore though, the Ravens are consistently playing with fewer cap space than most teams. Since 2015, they have only been below average in dead money once.
- 2015 — $24.1 million (6th)
- 2016 — $15 million (15th)
- 2017 — $23.5 million (8th)
- 2018 — 13.9 million (23rd)
This year is particularly bad due to Joe Flacco’s contract. He alone brings $16 million in dead money. For reference, Flacco as a team would have the ninth-largest dead money in the NFL.
With Flacco, Michael Crabtree ($4.67M), Eric Weddle ($1.75M) and four others off the roster, general manager Eric DeCosta is correcting multiple years of unsuccessful spending and bad contract management. The budget has been off and I’m pretty sure Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti would prefer not to shell out $20 million to players no longer on his roster.
The most recent proof of DeCosta’s budget correction, outside of the cuts, is the contract structure of new Ravens running back Mark Ingram. The details of his contract were finally released and NFL Reporter Albert Breer shows how DeCosta’s style is showing through.
Ravens doing more "flat" deals that will prevent dead money, and RB Mark Ingram's contract is an example of it. The details ...— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 19, 2019
2019: $4M signing bonus, $2M base.
2020: $4M base. ($2.66M dead money)
2021: $5M base. ($1.33M dead money)
If Ingram doesn’t work out with Charm City, DeCosta can feel comfortable releasing the veteran for a marginal cost. This is a great structure from the Ravens’ perspective.
If the 2020 balance sheet can stay in order, DeCosta can truly use all financial resources to pay his players or go out and find them. The relief of QB Lamar Jackson’s rookie contract will only amplify the money DeCosta can use in the near-future, too.