Nothing about this year’s State of the Ravens press conference was supposed to be surprising. I expected a lot of smiles, jokes, and plenty of acknowledgement of who made this championship season possible. The presser lived up to my expectations with one slight curveball that might give insight to the plans of the team this offseason.
Ozzie Newsome revealed that the team had no plans to restructure any contracts, calling such a moves a “last resort.” Since the championship-clenching win fans all over have opined about moves to open up space and keep Super Bowl heroes like Anquan Boldin and Jacoby Jones in purple a few years longer. While that certainly may still be possible the Ravens will opt to take a more patient approach judging by Ozzie’s comments.
Restructuring and extending the contracts of Boldin, Jones, or Vonta Leach to name a few would offer short term relief but a lot can happen in a year. At this point in their careers their market value will go down each year, and the team would be better served letting them all play out their final year.
As of right now the Ravens payroll stands at a shade over 111 million per Brian Mcfarland. The salary cap is expected to be 121 million this season. With so little wiggle room the reluctance to restructure other deals tells me the Ravens are confident they’ll be able to strike a long term extension with Joe Flacco. A franchise tag of any sort would force the Ravens to make some tough decisions with some veteran players under contract and tie their hands in free agency.
Ozzie’s statement can also shed some light on the Raven’s impending free agents. While the cap trouble has been greatly exaggerated by the media it is worth carefully monitoring. Ozzie has also gone on record in saying Flacco is the only player to whom they’d apply the franchise tag. If you add a tight cap, plus no franchise tag with the expected market of Cary Williams and Paul Kruger it puts the writing on the wall so to speak. You can expect to likely see those two in other jerseys come next season.
The Ravens are a franchise that operates with a substantial amount of foresight. They know they have extensions certainly looming for Dennis Pitta and Torrey Smith and possibly Michael Oher and Arthur Jones coming in the next year or two. Any restructure of certain veterans just extends the responsibility. It would be a shame if a Torrey Smith extension was put into jeopardy because of Super Bowl emotions.
Sustained success is the overarching goal. The Ravens want to be a contender year and year out as opposed to being the occasional front-runner.