According to Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones, the Baltimore Ravens are still interested in adding to their wide receiver corps. On Tuesday, Jones said on The Pat McAfee Show the Ravens are still in the running for Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
“There’s one more team up there that he missed,” Jones said about a viral clip on teams Hopkins would be interested in being traded to. “My sources said that [DeAndre Hopkins to Baltimore] can still happen.”
According to overthecap.com, the Ravens sit at $3.07 million in cap space, with $552k in effective cap space. If they were to take on Hopkins contract as is, they’d be taking on his $19.45 million base salary, quickly plunging them $15.44 million over the cap. However, there’s been talk of the Cardinals willing to retain some of the salary to deal Hopkins, but the holdup has been how much?
To get the Cardinals to retain more salary, the Ravens would need to give up more capital, something they’re light on with only five picks in the 2023 NFL draft which is days away. The Ravens traditionally don’t like to send heavy amounts of capital for trades, as they covet the draft as a foundation to build their rosters.
But with such light cap space and a hefty Hopkins salary, the only option would be to send extra picks or players in exchange, or bank on a kindness from the Cardinals.
Scenario: Cardinals Retain $8 Million In Salary
From what I’ve gathered in asking some Cardinals reporters, the most amount of money the Cardinals can retain to impact the base salary of Hopkins’ deal is $8 million. I’m uncertain if that’s the final number, so on the off-chance Russell Street Report’s Brian McFarland can confirm or deny this, please do so, even at the possibility of this all becoming categorically wrong.
Not even getting into the picks or the trade itself, but imagining a deal is completed that finds Hopkins in a purple and black uniform, that puts the Ravens at a far more manageable $11.45 million cap hit. This would send their cap space to -$7.44 million. Either the team would need to make cuts/trades or restructures.
Path by Restructure
The ‘easiest way’ to afford Hopkins would be a combination of restructuring the contracts of left tackle Ronnie Stanley and cornerback Marlon Humphrey. Between the two deals, the Ravens could free up $14.8 million in cap space for 2023, leaving them with $7.367 million after the maximum restructure for both players.
Path by Cuts & Trades
The addition of Hopkins would be the teams’ third outside receiver added to the depth chart, leaving the Ravens to make necessary cuts to make space. If the team were to cut two, the Ravens may consider parting ways with wide receivers Tylan Wallace and James Proche, saving them $1.779 in cap space. They could even consider cutting wide receiver Devin Duvernay, saving them $4.304 million.
Another move to save $2.27 million would be trading linebacker Patrick Queen. The Ravens have been noncommittal in publicly picking up his fifth-year option, due on May 2. There’s floating rumors of the team considering a trade, as they done so with wide receiver Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown last season.
All four moves would amount to enough savings to bring along Hopkins and $909k in cap space.
Most Likely Option
A blend of both is the way to operate. It’s a safer bet to restructure some of Humphrey’s deal over Stanley’s, as he’s been on the field more throughout the past few seasons. This, combined with a release or two from the wide receiver group, both to free up money and snaps for Hopkins, Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor, would be more than enough. They’d also have enough to pay their pending rookie class which would be cheaper, seeing as they’d likely need to part ways with a pick or two to acquire Hopkins from the Cardinals.