Adds Pressure to Poor Cap Situation
You hear it all the time in the NFL, that injuries are part of the game. And it’s no coincidence that the most successful teams in January and February are also among the healthiest in the league.
The injury bug always bites. There’s no getting around it. You just have to hope that it doesn’t bite too hard or too often. Teams spend a boatload of money in an attempt to secure the health of their players. Yet inevitably it isn’t enough to completely escape the bite.
In 2015, the Ravens led the league with 21 players on Injured Reserve. Those players consumed $25.5M of cap space. Both were league highs. In 2016, the Ravens had 23 players ($15.2M in cap space) on Injured Reserve, just 3 players short of the Saints who led the NFL with 26 IR’d players. Forty-four players on IR over the past two seasons. By comparison the Chargers had SEVEN and the Ravens AFC North rivals sent 31 (Steelers), 30 (Browns) and 21 (Bengals), respectively.
Yesterday we learned that Kenneth Dixon would miss the entire 2017 season with a torn meniscus. Dixon’s injury coupled with those of Tavon Young and Dennis Pitta have already cost the Ravens three starters and they’ve yet to start training camp.
Oh, and that ties the Ravens for second in IR’d players this season.
Is it bad luck? Do the Ravens draft injury-prone players? Are their strength and conditioning regimens or coaches not on par with other clubs? Not as safe? What about their medical staff? Maybe John Harbaugh’s practices are more strenuous or more conducive to injury? Or is it the practice fields?
Maybe it’s all of the above.
Maybe it’s none of the above.
Regardless, the situation is certainly worthy of a full examination.
Dixon’s injury places him on IR. It’s a big loss. He’s a promising talent who would have benefitted greatly in Greg Roman’s rushing attack. Maybe we’ll find out next season, assuming the current coaching staff is still on board.
Dixon will still get paid and he’ll be replaced. For now, the replacement is Bobby Rainey. Rainey or someone like him, will take Dixon’s spot on the 53-man roster and that spot will cost money. If Rainey is the guy, his league minimum wage is $775,000. If the Ravens season started today, even before the Dixon injury, they would have roughly $845,000 in surplus cap space! And they still need a right tackle.
Let that sink in.
One more injury, coupled with one more replacement, will put the Ravens over the cap, barring any restructures.
And if recent history is any indication, more injuries will follow.