About Brian McFarland

Brian McFarland

Known on Ravens Message Boards as "B-more Ravor", Brian is a life-long Baltimorean and an avid fan of the Ravens and all Baltimore sports.  A PSL holder since 1998, Brian has garnered a reputation as a cap-guru because of his strange (actually warped) desire to wade through the intricacies of the NFL's salary cap and actually make sense of it for those of us who view it as inviting as IRS Tax Code.      Brian, who hails from Catonsville, MD and still resides there, is married and has two children.

Ask the Cap Guru: Rule of 51, Incentives, and More

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This will be the first in a periodic series of Q&A segments with our Salary Cap expert. If you have a question for Brian, submit it in the comments below, and he’ll either answer there or in a future Q&A column.  What is the “Rule of 51” that I keep hearing about and what is its effect on the Salary Cap? During the offseason, teams are allowed to carry up to 90 players on their rosters.  Obviously, it would be impossible for teams to fit all 90 players under the...

Salary Cap Update: Busy Week for Ravens

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As the free agent period dawned on Tuesday afternoon, the Ravens’ roster looked to be in total flux, with key free agents like OT Eugene Monroe, LB Daryl Smith and WR/KR Jacoby Jones appearing to be on the verge of becoming ex-Ravens. By late Friday, as the dust had settled on a very busy week, General Manager Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens’ front office had again shown why they are among the best in the business. Monroe? Check. Daryl Smith? Check. Jacoby? Check. And, while not on the same level,...

Ravens Lose Nearly $2.5M in Cap Space

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Available Cap Space Now at Approximately $18.5M In the NFL, a team’s Salary Cap is impacted by many different factors. Each team has its own “adjusted” Cap, which is the league-wide Salary Cap ($133M in 2014) adjusted by 3 things:   The carryover of unused Cap space from the prior year ($1,531,423 for the Ravens) The league-wide Workout Bonus deduction ($504K in 2014) The incentive adjustment for incentives that were earned and unearned in the prior year When we talk about a team’s Cap space, it is the team’s “adjusted”...

Ravens Have as Much as $21.4M to Spare

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SALARY CAP UPDATE   March 6, 2014   With the March 11th beginning of the free agent period less than a week away, the Ravens are, according to Head Coach John Harbaugh, “aggressively” pursuing re-signing some of their own pending free agents. With that in mind, here’s a look at the Ravens’ 2014 Free Agency and Salary Cap status: PLAYERS UNDER CONTRACT The Ravens presently have the following 45 players under contract for 2014 (with Cap Numbers indicated): QBs (3): Joe Flacco ($14.8M), Tyrod Taylor ($671K), Nick Stephens ($420K) RBs...

Cap Ramifications Of Ray Rice’s Legal Issues

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As more and more details come out about the “altercation” between Ray Rice and his fiancée in Atlantic City, it starts looking worse and worse for Rice. Clearly, whatever happened has damaged his “good guy” reputation in the court of public opinion – perhaps forever – and has caught the eye of the NFL offices in New York. It’s a situation that can’t make the Ravens Front Office very happy either and they are probably in major damage control mode at this point. It has also driven fans to question...

Early Breakdown of Suggs’ Contract Extension

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There appears to be some discrepancies with regard to the various media reports about the value and breakdown of Terrell Suggs’ new contract extension, but the bottom line appears to be a base deal of $28.5M, of which $16M is fully guaranteed.  The deal includes an $11M Signing Bonus, and a first year payout of $12M.  The total new money in the deal is $20.7M. There may be some escalators involved that have yet to be reported.  This may explain some of the discrepancies because it was first reported that...

Source Indicates Ravens WILL get Comp Pick for Reed

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Monday’s Salary Cap article discussed the Ravens’ prospects for receiving four (4) Compensatory draft picks for this coming May’s NFL draft and the question of whether Ed Reed’s November release by the Texans would impact those possibilities. Not long after that article was posted, a team source reached out to Russell Street Report and pointed out two very important things. The first was that I can’t add (not a good thing for someone who writes about the Salary Cap!). When I noted that no Comp picks had ever been granted...

Ravens 2014 Offseason Preview (Version 2.0)

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With the Super Bowl now complete, every NFL team will begin turning its sights toward the 2014 league year, which is set to begin on March 11th.  As that date approaches, teams will begin making roster adjustments aimed at setting themselves up for the offseason, free agency and the draft. As of this morning, teams are now allowed to begin releasing players and the waiver process has begun.  So, while the free agent period is still 6 weeks away, the offseason business of the 2014 season has now officially begun....

Although It Doesn’t Add Up, Ravens Expect 4 Comp Picks

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Team Will Have 8 Draft Picks in May, McKinnie Pick Will Come In 2015   NOTE:  Since this article was posted this morning, Russell Street Report has learned that the Ravens will definitely receive a Compensatory pick for Ed Reed.  The below article erroneously states that Reed was released by Houston after week 9, when in fact, he was released after week 10.  Reed was on the Texans  roster for 9 games, but the Texans’ Bye week occurred during week 7, so Reed was not released until after week 10....

New CBA Allows Ravens to Control J. Smith for 5th Season

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Team Should Extend T. Smith Before 2014 Season   When the NFL owners took a hard line during the 2011 NFL collective bargaining sessions, one of their stated goals was to reduce the compensation paid to rookies and create a more reasonable rookie compensation system. The owners were ultimately successful in attaining that goal and the resulting Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) has greatly reduced “rookie compensation”. The owners were also able to negotiate a new provision that prohibits the renegotiation of a draft pick’s rookie contract until after the completion...

Ravens 2014 Free Agency Preview

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What a difference a year makes! Last year at this time, the Ravens were preparing for what was going to be Ray Lewis’ last home game in Baltimore and hoping to be able to find a way to put it together to make a run at the Super Bowl and reward Lewis with the ultimate retirement gift. While hopeful, few could have really envisioned the historic run to come! This year, however, there is a much different feeling – and outcome. Unable to find the extra gear that carried them...

NFL Discloses Estimated 2014 Salary Cap

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Early yesterday, Albert Breer of NFL Network reported that the league has told teams that the projected 2014 Salary Cap will be $126.3M. This projected number represents only a 2.68% increase over the 2013 Salary Cap of $123K, and continues to underlie the belief that the NFL owners played their cards very well during the last CBA negotiations. The NFLPA, on the other hand, is still waiting for their projected spike in the Cap to materialize. ESTIMATED 2014 FRANCHISE TAG NUMBERS: Last month, Joel Corry of CBS Sports (and National Football...

Acquisition of Monroe Sends Ravens Directly to Cap Jail

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Last night’s news that the Ravens had acquired Jacksonville Offensive Tackle Eugene Monroe was certainly a shock to Ravens fans. Given that Coach John Harbaugh very pointedly expressed his displeasure with the offensive line on Monday, a change wasn’t an unlikely expectation, however acquiring a quality Offensive Tackle of Monroe’s stature came totally out of the blue. OZZIE STRIKES AGAIN! But, while the rare in-season trade by the Wizard (has there ever been another for the Ravens?) leaves Baltimore with an abundance of Tackles, it also created a serious lack...

PRACTICE SQUAD: Who’s eligible?

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With the final cutdown date looming for every team around the NFL, over 700 players are facing the prospects of being unemployed by this weekend. However, for 256 of them, that unemployment will be replaced by the tenuous, and often temporary, existence that is an NFL’s Practice Squad. The first step, though, is that the player must be released.  Teams must have their active rosters reduced to 53 players by 6:00 p.m. ET on Saturday.  Other teams may claim or sign a released player, in which case that player is...

How Does the NFL’s Waiver System Work?

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As the third week of the NFL preseason comes to a close for many teams, the time has come to start making the first round of roster cuts.  Teams have until 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday to reduce their present “active” rosters from 90 players down to 75. When viewing the NFL waiver wire, there are four designations that come into play, each with different ramifications.  Often, these designations are confused when reported in the press or simply labeled with the generic moniker “cut,” but there are different ramifications of each...

Jameel McClain Takes a Pay Cut

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Last week in this column it was suggested that the Ravens may consider releasing LB Jameel McClain due to his continued unavailability stemming from a neck injury suffered late last season. It now appears that the team and McClain had another option in mind.  NFLPA records indicate that McClain has taken a $1.5M reduction in what was to be his $3M base salary for this season.  His base salary now stands at $1.5M. McClain’s 2013 Cap number had been set to be $4.2M, but will now be $2.7M.  It is...

Projecting the Ravens Opening Day Salary Cap – Version 2.0

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A little over 2 weeks ago, we took our first crack at projecting where the Ravens’ Salary Cap would stand as of the first week of the season. Since then, the Ravens have lost TE Dennis Pitta to a hip injury, have signed a back-up TE to replace Pitta and have re-signed FB Vonta Leach. Those moves have left the team with $4,384,459 in Salary Cap space under the Rule of 51. Once the season starts, however, all players – those on the 53-man rosters, Injured Reserve (IR), Physically Unable...

Might the Ravens Release McClain?

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans
Late last season, the Ravens were forced to place LB Jameel McClain on the Injured Reserve (IR) list due to a serious neck/spinal injury. This ended an up and down season for McClain, who was in the first year of a new 3-year contract signed last March. McClain had earned that contract with a relatively solid 2011 campaign during which he appeared to emerge as the next in line of solid sidekicks for future Hall of Famer, Ray Lewis. Instead, 2012 saw his play slip and his spot largely taken...

Oops He Did it Again!

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Last week we learned that Ravens CB Asa Jackson has again been suspended for violating the NFL’s ban on performance enhancing drugs. While it appears that Jackson’s suspension arose from Jackson’s failure to follow procedures, as opposed to an intent to circumvent the rules, the bottom line is still the same – Jackson will be suspended for the first 8 games of the season. This is Jackson’s second suspension within the past 8 months, as Jackson was first suspended for 4 games last December for violating the same league policy....

SALARY CAP UPDATE: Details of Vonta Leach’s New Deal

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The details of Vonta Leach’s new contract have finally been fully reported. As reported here first, Leach’s base salaries will be $840K (2013) and $1.75M (2014).  His 2013 Cap number will be $1.47M. According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, Leach received a Signing Bonus of $1.16M and has 2013 Incentives of $50K. Given that the incentives do count against the 2013 Cap, they would be Likely To Be Earn Incentives, meaning that Leach reached those statistical benchmarks in 2012.  If Leach fails to earn those incentives this season, the...