The terms of TE Dennis Pitta’s contract restructure are finally in. Pitta took a straight pay cut for both 2017 and 2018. Unlike his restructure last offseason, this new deal contains no incentives that would allow Pitta to earn back any of the money that he’s giving up.
The deal also includes an injury waiver (as did last year’s restructure), which protects the Ravens in case Pitta is injured again. It is unknown whether this injury waiver covers all injuries or just covers a reoccurrence of the hip injury (more likely). If the injury waiver applies, the Ravens would be able to release Pitta without an injury settlement and would not be responsible for paying any of his base salary.
The remaining two years of Pitta’s deal that are now covered by the restructure breakdown as follows:
Lastly, keep in mind that this pay cut does not in any way guarantee that Pitta will make the team in September and if he is released later in the summer, the team will receive additional Cap savings ($2.5M) because it would be a post-June 1 release at that point.
NEW CONTRACT BREAKDOWN
Brandon Carr: Carr signed a 4-year, $24M contract, which includes a Signing Bonus of $4M. The deal contains a series of yearly options for 2018-2020. If the options are exercised, there are roster bonuses of $1M (2018) and $1.5M (2019 and 2020) then due on the 5th day of each league year. Carr also has $31,250 in per game active roster (46-man game day active roster) bonuses in 2018 (totaling $500K). This is the first time that the Ravens have used active game day roster bonuses in any contract.
The deal breaks down as follows:
ARRINGTON AND WATSON
Arrington took a pay cut last offseason and then spent the entire 2016 season on IR due to concussion symptoms. At this point, it would seem that Arrington isn’t in the team’s plans for 2017 and there is $2.1M in Cap savings available if/when he is released.
Watson also spent the entire 2016 season on IR and the Cap savings from Watson’s release would be $3M. At age 36, and with 5 other TEs currently on the roster, there are certainly questions about just how Watson fits into the team’s plans.
Since both Arrington and Watson are both in the last year of their contracts, there is no reason to wait until after June 1 for any additional Cap relief, so what gives?
The guess here is that if the Ravens plan to release either (or both), they are waiting until the player can pass a team physical before releasing him. A player who was injured during the prior season can be released without having to pay any of his future contract (unless there is guaranteed money), but if the player can no longer play due to the injury, the player can receive an additional benefit from the team in lieu of the lost salary.
In the past, this benefit, called the Injury Protection Benefit, has never counted against the Salary Cap, but starting in 2016, it now counts against the Cap. As such if either player were unable to pass a physical and were deemed to be unable to play again, they would be entitled to receive this $1.15M benefit and it would count against the Ravens’ Cap.
So, it’s very possible that the team is waiting on the players passing physicals – especially Arrington, given that it is concussion related – before making a move, so as to avoid any possibility of having to pay this benefit and have it count against the Cap.
PRESENT CAP SPACE
With all deal now accounted for, the NFLPA is currently showing the Ravens being $7.8M under the Salary Cap. The NFLPA has posted $3.215M worth of adjustments to the Ravens Cap. This number seems a bit low given that we know of at least $3.5M worth of NLTBE incentives last year (Pitta, $3M; Shareece Wright, $500K) that will count against the 2017 Cap. So, it is expected that additional adjustments will still be posted at some point. The best guess here is that once those other adjustments are added (workout bonus charge; 2011-12 Cap repayment), the Ravens’ Cap space will decrease to as low as $5.2M.
The Ravens’ current Cap breakdown can always be found at this link, including a projected figure based on those other anticipated Cap adjustments.