Today is the deadline for the Ravens to sign star DT Haloti Ngata to a long term extension. If they fail to get him signed by today’s deadline, they will not be able to work out a long-term deal with him until after the season. If need be, they would again be force to use the Franchise Tag on him in 2012.
So, it’s really imperative that they get something done today. If he is signed today, look for him to be paid as one of the top defensive players in the game. After the first two games of the season, it’s pretty hard to argue that he’s not one of the best in the game. As such, it’s time for the Ravens to open up the wallets and pay the man. If a deal is done, look for Ngata to get a Signing Bonus of at least $30M and guaranteed money approaching $45M or so.
Getting Ngata signed to a long term deal could create $6M or more in additional Salary Cap space depending on how the deal is structured.
First and foremost, Salary Cap implications aside, just having a cornerstone player like him signed to a long term is a necessity. In addition, though, it will also provide the team with some Salary Cap flexibility. While that won’t be of much help for this season, it will help in the future:
1. It would give them cap flexibility to sign another player – Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Ben Grubbs, Andre Gurode – to an extension at some point this season.
2. Even if they don’t sign anyone else to an extension, they can write "phony incentives" into some deals in order to carry any excess 2011 Salary Cap space over into 2012, thereby increasing their 2012 Cap space.
3. Or, if other extensions aren’t in the plan, the Ravens could structure Ngata’s deal to eat up much of the Cap space he is presently already taking up, thereby lessening the future Salary Cap impact of such a monster deal.
4. It frees up the Franchise tag to be used next year, if they need to use it on Rice.
Finally, getting Ngata signed to a long term deal will give the team and its fans some much-needed good news after Sunday’s debacle in Tennessee.