CAP SPACE: Now that the NFL has finally announced that the league-wide Salary Cap for 2012 will be $120.6M, it has become easier to estimate the Baltimore Ravens’ expected Salary Cap space for the beginning of the 2012 league year.
As explained in our last article, the Ravens are able to increase their team Salary Cap by carrying over $5.831M of unused 2011 Salary Cap space and can borrow an additional $1.5M in Cap space from future Caps. These additions will give the team adjusted team Salary Cap of a little under $127.931M.
After last week’s releases of CB Domonique Foxworth, CB Chris Carr and WR Lee Evans, and the retirement of RB Ricky Williams, the Ravens presently have 40 players under contract for 2012, but they have now also used their Franchise Tag on RB Ray Rice. Once Rice’s Franchise tender of $7.742M is added in, the Ravens will have 41 players under contract or tendered for a total Cap commitment of 111.987M.
The team still needs to tender contracts to its Restricted Free Agents (RFAs) and Exclusive Rights Free Agents (ERFAs).
It has also been reported that the Ravens will tendered CBs Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams with the 1st round tender worth $2.742M. It is expected that LB Dannell Ellerbe will receive the low RFA tender of $1.26M.
The team is not expected to offer a RFA tender to RB Matt Lawrence. However as has been their history with fringe players like Lawrence, it is possible that the team will re-sign him to a minimum contract (worth $615K) at some point over the next week.
Adding in those RFA tenders, the team’s total Cap commitment increases to $118.731M.
The Ravens have 7 Exclusive Rights Free Agents (ERFAs) that must be tendered by March 13th for the team to retain their rights. Those 7 players will receive one-year contracts of minimum base salaries for their service time of zero, one or two years.
Once those 7 players are tendered, the team’s Salary Cap commitment will rise to $121.986M, for the 51 players under contract or tendered, leaving the team $5.945M under the Salary Cap. This is the amount that the team should have entering the 2012 league year that begins at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday.
INCENTIVES CARRYOVER: There is still one remaining unknown variable in the team’s Salary Cap picture – whether they will receive any “Incentives” credit or debit for incentive earned and unearned last year. Incentives come in 2 varieties – “likely to be earned” (LTBE) and “not likely to be earned” (NLTBE). A LTBE incentive counts for that year, but if unearned is credited back to the team the following year, whereas a NLTBE incentive does not count in that year, but if earned is debited from the team’s Cap the following year.
The Ravens haven’t usually written a lot of incentives into their contracts, so this number shouldn’t be too substantial in either direction.