80/20 Rule Could Bump Jones, Graham From Roster

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Ngata Safe…For Now

Those within or close to the Ravens inner circle that influences changes in player personnel will tell you that the team subscribes to their own version of the 80/20 rule.

If a player one notch down on the depth can provide 80% of the starter’s production for 20% of the price, said starter is in jeopardy.

The rule allows the team to develop younger players and manage the salary cap.

Jameel McClain and Vonta Leach lost out to the rule this week.

And so too could free agents Arthur Jones and Corey Graham.

Jones has been very clear that he plans on selling his services to the highest bidder. The “highest bidder” is seldom a term that describes the Ravens, particularly when the defensive line is involved where coach Clarence Brooks has been a fantastic orchestrator of rotations to get the most out of his personnel – even when said personnel wasn’t all that.

One only needs to remember this fact – starting beside Haloti Ngata for the Super Bowl XLVII Champions defensive unit was Ma’ake Kemoeatu. Kemo in 2012 was one year removed from 400 pounds and out of the NFL.

But back to Jones…

He’s as good as gone and the Ravens 20% solution for him could be Kapron Lewis-Moore who had a 2nd or 3rd round grade entering the 2013 draft. He sat out last season on injured reserve yet one source indicated that he could make an impact in 2014.

Bye-bye Arthur, regardless of the newly found cap room.

Corey Graham has been a solid contributor for the Ravens during his two-year run yet Graham struggled at times on the defensive perimeter. He doesn’t have the great change-of-direction skills that Lardarius Webb possesses and as a result, despite being a nickel corner, he’s often at corner in nickel and dime situations as Webb moves inside.

When on the perimeter, Graham was targeted late in the season and looked like the secondary’s weak link. Waiting in the wings is Asa Jackson.

Jackson competed well during camp and in preseason he made plays in each of his first two campaigns in the league. BUT…he’s been sidelined often by suspensions for PED violations.

Jackson’s is a special case because he genuinely needs the Adderall that has triggered his unpaid vacations. He now has league approval for Adderall and the Ravens believe that he can step up as the nickel corner – otherwise they would not have patiently endured his suspensions. Jackson also has plus return skills and that could persuade the Ravens to take a wait-and-see approach with Jacoby Jones who will surely command at least the $4M that he earned in 2013.

Given his less than expected production in 2013, Haloti Ngata’s cap number is the white elephant in the office of team capologist Pat Moriarty. At $16M it is the team’s largest and his salary ($8.5M) produces the team’s biggest weekly paycheck during the season.

Ngata is just 30 years old and could be a candidate for a contract extension. The multi-Pro Bowler and the Ravens discussed such an extension but couldn’t come to terms and so the team looked to other areas to create cap space to address offseason needs.

For now, Ngata has the team by the short hairs. Releasing him would create only $1M in cap in 2014. Even if Ngata isn’t performing to the level of his contract, the team would be hard-pressed to get even substandard Ngata productivity for $1M.

That said, if Ngata’s play flattens and he doesn’t improve upon his 2013 season, he could be vulnerable to the cap cutting blade in 2015. Then the Ravens could save $8.5M in cap space by releasing him.

Perhaps 2015 will be the time when the two sides come together in the same way the Ravens did with Suggs this offseason.

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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

11 Raves on “80/20 Rule Could Bump Jones, Graham From Roster

  1. paulie on said:

    80/20 looks good on paper and it is a catchy phrase, but by the third iteration you are the Buffalo Bills with a bunch of 40%ers running around on the field and a very disgruntled fan base.

  2. jws on said:

    Interesting, well written thoughts TL and something for Raven fans to think about. The problem with any free agent signing is what their agent and the player thinks they are worth compare to the Ravens. Monroe would be a great addition and is well needed no doubt but not at ANY price.The Ravens with their pass budget issues most years has been very slim. But they were better off even if they had extra cap funds not to overpay some of their past free agents. But even though they did not sign Kruger or Ellerbe they were not worth the amount they received and have not come close to earning their pay checks. The Ravens should stay within their plan on all freee agent signings this year at whatever tha tprice is and not overspend. Teams are overpaying on these free agents. Monroe appears to want more money than he is worth for his market value. Two starting left tackle have recently signed new contracts (Bears last year, Eagles last week) in the price range Monroe is really in but will some team like Miami or the Cardinals overpay Monroe? Ozzie has done a great job this off season creating cap space. This new found larger amount with the new cap limit of 133 million should not changed what the Ravens past practices have been, the right player at the right price! Ozzie’s should stick to their plan and not make another Ngata type mistake that we are seeing this year in his cap numbers.

  3. Mook on said:

    Art Jones/ Still think Baltimore should move Pernell McPhee back to D.T.
    Ngata/ It would help if Brandon Williams Could man the N.T. Ngata D.T. Canty D.E.

  4. Jeff on said:

    But you need more than three corners. Corners are extremely injury prone and the Ravens players are no exception to that rule. 2013 was anamalous in that no corner got injured, but look at the top two corners, Webb and Smith, and look at how many years they have been injury free. Graham is the only one of the top three without a bad injury history.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      Good point Jeff, but there’s probably a 2012 Corey Graham out there that will represent value. Graham’s demands may bring his value into question. We’ll see. Be nice if he stays but as always, right player, right price.

  5. kennie on said:

    I believe both players are replaceable. The Ravens should be able to find replacements via freeagency or the draft.

  6. Ravenlady on said:

    I like ART JONES but won’t be heartbroken if he’s snatched up by another team. I also think MONROE did fine at LT last year, HOWEVER, the only reason he is able to demand a big pay day is because THE RAVENS TRADED FOR HIM. I doubt very much if anyone would be demanding his services if the RAVENS hadn’t brought him aboard their team. Who heard of him really before he was a RAVEN? If he wants to cash in on the opportunity we gave him, let him..but let him do it with another team over paying him. I think NGATA should extend for sure. I hope we keep J. JONES and think he’d be willing to deal. I think GRAHAM can test the free agency market. SMITH can step in with WEBBY and have JACKSON as a back up. We’ll be fine this year.

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