1. RAVENS LIKELY TO HAVE 15 UFAs, NOT 6:
Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome created some confusion during the team’s annual “State of the Ravens” Press Conference in mid-January when he said the Ravens only had 6 UFAs to re-sign. This comment is likely just “Ozzie being Ozzie”, as he is often contrary and evasive when it comes to disclosing information publicly.
What Ozzie indirectly referenced were the “Uncapped Year” rules that existed last season under which players only became Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs) after accruing six (6) years of service time. If those rules were to exist this year, as Ozzie alluded, then the Ravens would actually have had seven (7) UFAs. Ozzie was obviously confident that one of those seven, PK Billy Cundiff, was close to re-signing.
Since that Press Conference, the team has acknowledged that at this point, no one really knows how many UFAs they have because there is no CBA in place for next year, meaning that there are no rules in place for the coming season.
It is likely, though, that any new CBA will include Salary Cap rules similar to those that existed under the old CBA, and thus, the old requirement of only four (4) years of service time to become a UFA will return. In that case, the Ravens will have 15 UFAs when the free agent period would begin (that number had been 17 prior to the re-signing of Cundiff and Punter Sam Koch).
2. BILLY CUNDIFF’S NEW CONTRACT:
While not all of the details of Billy Cundiff’s new 4-year, $15M deal have yet to be disclosed, the NFLPA’s site has published his base salaries. Cundiff will earn $1.5M in 2011, $2.2M in 2012, $2.3M in 2013, $2.7M in 2014 and $3M in 2015. That would leave $3.3M to be allocated to a signing bonus and/or incentives.
3. GRUBBS AND FLACCO HIT ESCALATORS:
Two Ravens saw their 2011 base salaries increased by incentives reached during 2011 and/or prior years.
Guard Ben Grubbs saw his base salary increase by $2.2M, from $795K to $2.995M. This increase was the maximum playing time incentive that was part of his 2007 rookie deal.
Quarterback Joe Flacco saw his base salary increase from $2.875M to $4.485M. This increase includes a $1.5M escalator based on playing time in 2010 and an additional $200K for the Ravens’ playoff victory over Kansas City (Flacco’s contract includes an escalator that increase his base salary by $200K for each playoff victory in the prior season). His base salary had already been increased by playing time incentives in 2008 (750K) and 2009 ($1M).
Flacco’s 2012 base salary has also been increased by the same escalators ($750K + $1M + $1.5M). If Flacco again meets the playing time incentive in 2011, his 2012 base salary, the final year of his rookie contract, will be increased by an additional $1.95M.
4. RAVENS SIGN 8 TO 2011 CONTRACTS:
As expected, the Ravens have signed 8 players to 2011 “Future” contracts. The team inked 7 players who ended the 2010 season on the team’s Practice Squad: OL Brady Bond ($330K), QB Hunter Cantwell ($330K), CB Danny Gorrer ($405K), WR Justin Harper ($405K), LB Albert McClellan ($330K), OL Andre Ramsey ($405K) and RB Curtis Steele ($330K). The team also signed former Buffalo Bills 2nd round pick, WR James Hardy ($480K).