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Ravens News 6/3: Salary cap negotiations and more

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Divisional Round - Tennessee Titans v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Abundance of Young Stars Comes With a High Price Tag - John Eisenberg

The Ravens have as much great, young talent as any NFL team. Seven of the 13 players they sent to the 2019 Pro Bowl were still playing on the contracts they signed as rookies.

Success of that magnitude at drafting and developing players is likely to lead to success on the field, and the Ravens are no exception. Their young players helped them go 14-2 in 2019, with another winning season widely forecast for 2020.

But such success is costly in the NFL. It’s what everyone wants, but there’s a price attached. A high price.

Utilizing that and other best practices of the cap, the Ravens have had the room to sign veteran stars Earl Thomas III and Calais Campbell to sizable deals, bolstering the defense.

Those sizable deals will start going to homegrown stars soon enough. The Ravens are going to want to keep their guys. Continuity is a hallmark of the franchise.

The cap will be an impediment, but with the job of retaining players taking place over a span of years, who knows what the Ravens might be able to pull off?

Important salary-cap negotiations loom for NFL, NFLPA - Ian Rapoport, et al.

Multiple sources say the NFL and NFLPA both acknowledge that important negotiations are coming quickly to determine how to handle yearly salary caps for 2020 and beyond, considering there are likely to be steep revenue losses with limited or no fans in the stands. This sets up a scenario where both sides will have to come to agreements on every possible contingency on how COVID-19 could affect the season before anyone plays a game.

Currently, the league and NFLPA are studying how the revenue could be affected and what the sure-fire losses will look like. That’s one reason why there have been barely any contract extensions and few free agents have been signed after the initial free agency period.

The salary cap (currently $198.2 million for 2020) is calculated based on expected revenue, but there’s also a mechanism where it rises or falls based on unexpectedly higher or lower revenue in the previous season. That will be the case this year in relation to the 2021 cap with fewer (or no) fans in the stands. How bad will the revenue losses be?

The worst-case scenario is that every game is played in a completely empty stadium, leading to what sources have estimated as a $4 or $5 billion drop — about a third of revenue. Under that scenario, teams could bring in $40 to $80 million less than expected. The losses are likely to be less than that, because it is expected that some fans will be able to attend games in some stadiums, although stadiums won’t be packed. Still, if there are huge revenue losses, the 2021 cap will be impacted.

Among the possibilities for how to smooth the cap out given expected losses is borrowing from future TV deals. New deals usually create a spike in the cap due to influx of cash, but in this case could be used to create a smooth incline and make up for losses incurred during the 2020 season. The league and the NFLPA could also agree to curtail or eliminate performance-based pay for a few years.

NFL ultimate all-conference teams: Best pro lineups from Big Ten, Big 12 - Mike Triplett

NFL ultimate all-conference team: Big Ten

Missing piece: Retired O-linemen. Obviously, the offensive line has always been a calling card for the Big Ten. But just imagine how much stronger this unit would be if guard Marshal Yanda and center Travis Frederick hadn’t just hung up their cleats.

NFL ultimate all-conference team: Big 12

OFFENSE

WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma

TE Mark Andrews, Oklahoma

S Earl Thomas III, Texas

Titans trade with Baltimore Ravens would unite Alabama Heisman winners - Will Lomas

Baltimore Ravens receive:

Projected trade compensation

Ravens receive: Tennessee Titans 2021 4th round pick

Titans receive: Mark Ingram

Over the last five years, running back trades before the season starts net the team trading away the running back a Day 3 pick.

I am giving the Ravens a good deal here because I think that the Titans need proven depth on the roster at running back and I also think that Jon Robinson thinks that 4th round draft picks are overvalued by the NFL as a whole.

This gives the Ravens more draft picks to move around if they want to or to replace parts on a team that is about to get very expensive, very quickly.