Ravens 2014 Free Agency Preview

Ngata Suggs
Photo courtesy of ICON SMI

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 the year before, the 2013 Ravens failed to make the playoffs and are now forced to deal with their offseason business a lot sooner than they hoped.

This offseason looks to be another offseason of roster turnover, as the Ravens seek to further bolster the defense that occupied so much of their attention last offseason, while hopefully finally finding the weapons and support necessary to solidify QB Joe Flacco’s standing as one of the top QBs in the NFL.

So, 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 37 players under contract for 2014 (with Cap Numbers indicated):

  • QBs (2): Joe Flacco ($14.8M), Tyrod Taylor ($671K)
  • RBs (4): Ray Rice ($8.75M), Bernard Pierce ($709K), Vonta Leach ($2.33M), Kyle Juszczyk ($570K)
  • WRs (4): Torrey Smith ($1.078M), Deonte Thompson ($571K), Aaron Mellette ($507K), Marlon Brown (497K)
  • TE (0):
  • OL (7): Marshall Yanda ($8.45M), Kelechi Osemele ($913K), Jah Reid ($786K), Gino Gradkowski ($691K), AQ Shipley ($580K), Ricky Wagner ($531K), Ryan Jensen ($515K)
  • DL (6): Haloti Ngata ($16M), Chris Canty ($3.167M), Pernell McPhee ($681K), Brandon Williams ($624K), DeAngelo Tyson ($582K), Kapron Lewis-Moore ($517K)
  • LBs (6): Terrell Suggs ($12.4M), Jameel McClain ($4.4M), Elvis Dumervil ($3.375M), Courtney Upshaw ($1.445M), Arthur Brown ($808K), John Simon ($591K)
  • CBs (4): Lardarius Webb ($10.5M), Jimmy Smith ($2.374M), Chykie Brown ($681K), Asa Jackson ($604K)
  • S (1): Matt Elam ($1.538M)
  • ST (3): Sam Koch ($2.8M), Justin Tucker ($570K), Morgan Cox ($855K)

These 37 players are under contract for a total Salary Cap commitment (which includes dead money from players no longer on the team) of just over $111.872M. (Link to 2014 Salary Cap Spreadsheet).

Early reports are that the 2014 Salary Cap will be set at $126.3M, but other reports indicate that the Cap could go as high as $128-129M.

Using the $126.3M figure to be on the conservative side, the Ravens would have just under $14.5M in Cap space. But, that figure is for only the 37 players presently under contract for 2014.

So, between now and March 11th at 4:00 p.m., when the new league year begins and free agency begins, the Ravens have a lot of work to do.

 

PRACTICE SQUAD FREE AGENTS (FAs)

In past years, the Ravens have usually re-signed all of their Practice Squad players to contracts for the coming year. The announcement of these signings will likely come in the next couple of days.

The 9 players currently on the Practice Squad (or the Practice Squad IR) are:

  • WR Kamar Aiken
  • TE Matt Furstenburg
  • RB Jonas Gray
  • DT Cody Larson
  • OT David Mims
  • TE Nathan Overby
  • WR Gerrard Sheppard
  • QB Nick Stephens
  • G Reggie Stephens

Most of these players will be re-signed to one-year contracts of $420K. Based on already having an accrued season in the NFL, David Mims and Reggie Stephens would receive one-year contracts of $495K.

 

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS (ERFAs)

These players must be tendered contracts of the league minimum, based on the player’s length of service in the league ($570K, $495K or $420K). Once tendered, these players are fully under the team’s control and are not free to negotiate with other teams.

The Ravens have 6 players who are Exclusive Rights Free Agents (ERFAs):

  • S Omar Brown ($570K)
  • LB DJ Bryant ($420K)
  • LB Josh Bynes ($570K)
  • LB Adrian Hamilton ($495K)
  • S Anthony Levine ($495K)
  • S Brynden Trawick ($495K)

In the past, the Ravens have usually always tendered all of their ERFAs.

 

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (RFAs)

These are players whose contracts have expired and who have 3 years of accrued service time. The team must tender the player with an RFA offer. Once tendered, another team can sign the player to a RFA offer sheet, but the Ravens then have 7 days to match that offer sheet and retain the player under the terms of that offer sheet. If the Ravens were to choose not to match the offer sheet, they would then receive compensation based on the level of RFA tender made to the player.

There are 3 RFA tenders (the 2011 CBA eliminated the “high” tender of 1st and 3rd round draft picks as compensation):

  • 1st Round Tender: allows the team to receive compensation of a 1st round – $3.023M
  • 2nd Round Tender: allows the team to receive compensation of 2nd round pick – $2.124M
  • Low Tender: allows the team to receive compensation of a draft pick equal to the round in which the player was originally drafted or the Right of First Refusal (ROFR) for an undrafted player – $1.389M

The above Tender amounts appear to be set for 2014, so long as the overall Salary Cap does not increase to over $129.15M. Under the terms of the CBA, the RFA Tender amounts increase at the same rate as the overall Salary Cap, with the minimum increase being 5%. The above totals represent that minimum 5% increase, since it appears that the Cap is not going to go up by more than 5%.

The Ravens have 2 players who are Restricted Free Agents (RFAs) – with original draft round indicated:

  • WR – Tandon Doss (4th)
  • LB – Albert McClellan (undrafted)

In the past, the Ravens have usually tendered all of their RFAs, but on occasion, the team has non-tendered a player and instead re-signed the player to a one-year veteran minimum contract. The veteran minimum salary for such a player for 2014 is $645K.

For the purposes of this projection, we’ll assign the low RFA tender to both Doss (4th round comp) and McClellan (ROFR – no comp). That said, given that both players have plummeted down the team’s depth chart as this past season progressed, it’s very possible that one or both could be candidates to be non-tendered (and perhaps re-signed).

Keeping in mind, though, that RFA/ERFA tenders are not guaranteed, so just because a player is tendered (as either as a RFA or ERFA) that is no guaranty that the player will ultimately make the final 53-man roster.

 

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (UFAs)

The following 14 players are Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs) and will be free to sign with other teams if they haven’t re-signed with the Ravens before Free Agency begins on March 11th at 4:00 p.m.:

  • TE Dallas Clark
  • NT Terrence Cody
  • TE Ed Dickson
  • CB Corey Graham
  • DT Arthur Jones
  • WR Jacoby Jones
  • S James Ihedigbo
  • S Jeromy Miles
  • OT Eugene Monroe
  • OT Michael Oher
  • TE Dennis Pitta
  • RB Bernard Scott
  • LB Daryl Smith
  • WR Brandon Stokley (has announced intention to retire)

2013 SALARY CAP CARRYOVER

Under the CBA, teams are allowed to carry over excess Salary Cap space from one year to the next. The Ravens will finish the 2013 season with around $1.5M in excess Cap space.

PROJECTED ADJUSTED TEAM CAP AND SALARY CAP COMMITMENT

Based on all of the above, it is estimated that the Ravens will have an adjusted Team Salary Cap of $127.298M. The team’s adjusted Cap consists of the projected league Salary Cap of $126.3M, plus the carryover of the 2013 excess Cap space of just over $1.5M, less adjustments for workout bonuses.

NOTE: There will be further adjustments for earned and unearned 2013 incentives that will raise or lower that adjusted Cap a bit. That incentive adjustment usually isn’t disclosed until March.

So, prior to the team making any other roster moves (releases or retirements) or the restructure of any contracts, the team would enter the 2014 league year with a Salary Cap commitment of $120.365M, leaving them with $6.933M in Salary Cap space, with 54 players under contract or tendered.

This number represents the “Rule of 51” Salary Cap status for the Ravens. During the offseason, when roster can balloon to up to 90 players, only the highest 51 Salary Cap numbers (and all 2013 bonus prorations and all dead money from released players) are counted for Salary Cap purposes.

With that said, that number is going to be greatly affected by……..

RELEASE/RETIREMENT/RESTRUCTURES

Based on the above, it’s pretty clear that the Ravens are going to have to create additional Salary Cap space in order to be able to sign or re-sign other players to the roster. There are two primary ways of creating additional Salary Cap space – (1) restructuring/extending of contracts and/or (2) releasing/trading players.

The below chart lays out the Salary Cap implications of the release (or trade) of some Ravens players:

 

As the above chart shows there are different implications to releasing a player prior to June 1 and after June 1. Releasing the player before June 1 allows the player to be fully cleared off the books immediately, by taking the entire hit of dead money (the acceleration of bonus money from signing bonuses) in the present year. This generally makes for a smaller amount of Cap savings, but also keeps the release from having any Cap implications in the following season.

Releasing a player after June 1 (or using a June 1 designation on a release prior to June 1), allows for a more sizeable Cap savings, by pushing dead money onto the following year’s Cap. More importantly, though, any Cap savings realized from a post-June 1 release (or a June 1 designation release) is not available until after June 1, so there’s no benefit to such a release in March, when the money is generally needed to sign or re-sign players to build your roster.

The Ravens have historically shied away from releasing players post-June 1. In the past, they have at most used just one post-June 1 release.

McCLAIN/LEACH/KOCH: These three are probably the most likely players to be released. Each provides a decent amount of Cap savings. McClain, while returning admirably from a serious neck injury, hasn’t looked particularly good and probably isn’t worth $3.2M in base salary. While certainly a valuable team leader, the Ravens barely used Leach this past season, which sort of begs the question why they ever re-signed him in the first place? As far as Koch goes, he’s still a very good punter, but you have to question whether a $2.2M salary (and a $2.8M Cap number) is just too much for a punter?

CANTY/YANDA: Both of these players are probably safe. Canty is likely safe because he simply doesn’t cost that much for the position/role he plays. Yanda, who does have a high Cap number, simply doesn’t provide a lot of pre-June 1 Cap savings, and probably deserves a mulligan for his injury-plagued 2013 campaign.

SUGGS: Now we get to the more interesting decisions. Terrell Suggs is entering the final year of his contract, is on the wrong side of age 30, and much like Anquan Boldin last offseason, represents the single easiest place to find the most Cap savings from one player. Given the Cap number and the need to address the roster in other areas, the Ravens really have two options with Suggs – contract extension or release.

A contract extension would likely keep Suggs a Raven for the rest of his career and lower his 2013 Cap number of $12.4M by a good $3-5M. Back in September, a contract extension appeared to be the more likely outcome, but after Suggs’ disappearing act for much the second half of the season, it’s now a fair question if he will return at all?

Releasing Suggs would create an immediate $7.8M in Salary Cap space and would go a long way toward creating an abundance of Cap space to address other issues.

NGATA: Ngata is another interesting situation. While there is a lot of immediate Cap space available from releasing Suggs, there is a lot more dead money to be considered when it comes to Ngata. Releasing Ngata prior to June 1 would provide only $1M in Salary Cap savings, but would cause a whopping $15M in dead money to hit against the Cap. That’s a lot of dead money and way more than most teams are usually willing to take on. Releasing Ngata after June 1 would provide a bundle of Cap savings – $8.5M – but would cause $7.5M to be pushed off onto the 2015 Cap. More importantly, though, as stated above, that $8.5M in new Cap space wouldn’t be available to the Ravens until June 2nd. By then, many of the players that they’d like to re-sign or sign as free agents would be long gone.

As such, releasing Ngata would not look like a likely proposition.

However, while Ngata has played well, the question the Ravens have to ask themselves is whether he has played well enough to be worth his 2014 base salary of $8.5M? Sometimes in these situations, it comes down to a cash situation as much as a Cap situation.

If the Ravens’ answer to that question is “No”, then they will need to decide whether to take less Cap savings, but all in 2014, or to receive more 2014 Cap saving, at the expense of $7.5M worth of 2015 Cap space. One thing to consider with a post-June 1 release, though, is that, while the $7.5M in savings is not available until June 2nd and is a sizeable amount of new Cap space to receive in June, the team could use that to sign their draft picks (who are usually now signed in May) and carry the rest into the season. Whatever is left over at the end of the season, can then be carried over into 2015 and essentially used to offset the $7.5M in dead money carried over by releasing Ngata post-June 1, thereby somewhat lessening the impact of that dead money carryover.

One other issue for both Suggs and Ngata would be the question of whether they would accept a pay cut as part of a restructured contract. This is an oft-misunderstood part of NFL contracts – rarely does a contract restructure include less money for the player. It is usually just an accounting exercise that gives the player the same amount of money, but as a bonus instead of as base salary. When players are asked to accept a pay cut, it is usually in the circumstance where the threat of release – and then signing elsewhere for less money – works in the favor of the team. Given the numbers and the status of both Suggs and Ngata, a pay cut seems very unlikely.

RICE/WEBB: In both of these cases, the dead money versus Cap savings makes a release highly unlikely. For Rice, it’s even worse, because a pre-June 1 release would actually cost the Ravens more than it would to keep him on the team. Neither would seem to be candidate for a post-June 1 release either, and it’s likely that the Ravens will give Webb another year to prove that his injured knee is the reason for his up-and-down 2013 season.

OUTLOOK: The Ravens are not in a terrible Cap situation, but still have a lot of work to do. With pending free agents like TE Dennis Pitta, OT Eugene Monroe, WR Jacoby Jones and LB Daryl Smith – amongst others – the Ravens are going to have to find a way to create the necessary Cap space to address those players and to bolster other areas of need.

Over the next several months, there will be many reports on the Ravens’ Cap status, most of which will not include many of the above factors that provide a full, realistic picture of their Cap situation. Barring an early release or re-signing of a player, the Ravens will enter the 2014 offseason with just under $7M in Cap space. From there, the Salary Cap is a puzzle, and the Ravens’ Front Office will likely use a combination of the above maneuvers to create the Cap space necessary to address the team’s many roster issues.

As always, it should be a wild ride.

37 Raves on “Ravens 2014 Free Agency Preview

  1. Ryan on said:

    Great article! I learned a lot. The casual fan will never understand the business side of the game. Here’s what I do not understand. If I am Joe Flacco and I understand how valuable Anquan Boldin is (especially on third down), why not structure my blockbuster deal to leave some cash on the table to re-sign one of my best receivers? Or does it go deeper than that? Was Boldin one of the “gang of five” who led the so-called “mutiny” after last season’s loss to the Texans? Anquan lit it up for the 49ers this season. I cannot help but think that we would be in the postseason had we found a way to keep Boldin.

        • Anonymous on said:

          No what we need is a stronger offense we paid flaccid to much and boldim bailed him out a lot of 3rd downs selfish move on flaccid now ravens nation have to take the damn hit with him we could not convert third downs this season he’s not a 100 million dollar player by himself he needs a playmaker to take pressure off of him. Him being (flacco$

          • Anonymous on said:

            Oh look another low intelligence fan… Love the “Flaccid” comment very classy.

            If you can figure out how to use google go look up Flacco’s numbers for the next 2 years.

            I’m sure this has been explain ad nauseam to you but in no way did Flacco’s contract handcuff this teams ability to sign players this or next year.

            There was more then enough cap space to resign Boldin. The money was used to improve the defense. Some player worked out like Daryle Smith, others didn’t like Huff and Spears.

            The OFFENSIVE line is wait for it PART OF THE OFFENSE. Some would even argue its the most important part of the offense.

            You don’t like Flacco not converting on 3 downs? Well guess what there isn’t a QB in the league that is going to have a lot of success in constant 3rd and Long situations. Especially when the line can’t run or pass block in the first place.

            “Flaccid” look pretty “hard” in the playoff last year and it had nothing to do with Boldin. It had everything to do with the line giving Flacco enough time to find the open receiver.

            I think that is enough of a lesson for today since I’m pretty sure you have a learning disability.

    • Rumor Ray on said:

      Sarcasticfury is correct, Boldin is not an O-Line Man .. That was the need this season not another WR. M Brown more then proved his value as a WR. My guess is that for 2014 the team is T Smith, M Brown and J Jones. Pitta and Dickson will be back as a double TE.

    • Austinrs10 on said:

      Flacco’s deal WAS cap friendly this past season. Boldin was set to make more then Joe! He didn’t want to take a pay cut. What hurt was Pitta’s injury and Jacoby’s injury. They were going to make up for Quan’s loss.

  2. Mike on said:

    It would be nice to have this column updated and available all off season so at a glance anyone can come here and get an idea of what’s going on with the cap. Good article.

  3. Rumor Ray on said:

    TE Dallas Clark -Bye Bye
    NT Terrence Cody – Later Mount Cody – B Williams moves up the ladder
    TE Ed Dickson – Stays
    CB Corey Graham – Stays
    DT Arthur Jones – Stays
    WR Jacoby Jones – Stays
    S James Ihedigbo – Stays
    S Jeromy Miles – Gone
    OT Eugene Monroe – We will keep him however I am not sold on him
    OT Michael Oher – Blind Side is over in Baltimore
    TE Dennis Pitta – He will be a Raven
    RB Bernard Scott – Gone the Ravens will find fresh legs
    LB Daryl Smith – A MUST KEEP
    WR Brandon Stokley (has announced intention to retire) – Good to see him Retire a Raven !

  4. Ravcolt on said:

    The release of Suggs is the easiest financial decision. The Ravens are now feeling the pain for paying premium contracts to non-premium positions, regardless of the player’s talent. Premium positions include QB, protecting the QB, and going after the QB, IMO.

  5. Anonymous on said:

    Selfish guy now ravens nation feels the burn because of one mans arrogance. He can’t throw it and catch the ball which is what this season should have taught flacco bold in was a great 3rd down receiver most dependable in the league and bailed flacco out numerous times. We would for sure be in the playoffs if he would have taken 100 mill contract instead of comparing balls and keeping up with the Brady’s and mannings and the brees of the nfl. Selfish move and we were doomed from the start

      • CB on said:

        Ron, you can lead them to water but you can not make them drink.
        If people are still posting the idiotic notion that Joe’s contract had anything to do with Boldin leaving at this point after if has been explained to them over and over and over again. Well they not only don’t know jack about what is truly going on but for some reason refuse to learn. Just be thankful these people are not actually in charge of anything to do with the Ravens or the NFL.

  6. DianeT on said:

    Excellent article – this helps a true novice like me understand the business end of things. I am going to bookmark this page for future reference :):)

  7. Tucker: M&T Sec 527 on said:

    Suggs has earned the offer of a reasonable extension/re-structure. If he doesn’t want to take it that’s on him. I don’t think he’d do well trying to break in on a new team at this point in his career.
    Daryl Smith and Arthur Jones both turned up the heat on Suggs for a share of defensive cap space.
    Keeping all 3 is obviously not possible, but 2 of 3 probably is. Go make your nut Arthur – We’ll hope Tyson and Williams grow up fast.

  8. Torry Lewis on said:

    This was the best combination of facts I have seen yet. Awesome article, hopefully everyone can read this before they open thier yap with inacurate facts.

  9. Nate on said:

    I wonder when Boldin’s name will stop coming up in Ravens’ discussion. You can’t blame the failure of the offense on one guy. That works as far as Flacco too. Yeah he didn’t perform very well all season and he was miserable to watch most of the time, but when the defense doesn’t have to make changes to stop the run game, they can keep their safeties in coverage making it harder for Flacco to find a target. It stays true when the defense can put pressure on Flacco with 3 and 4 man rushes. I will never agree with his contract but I think if you give him what he needs he will/better be successful. In my opinion there are problems all around. We need help at almost every position.

  10. Will on said:

    O LINE needs attention cuz everything gets decided in the trenches. Protecting the Qb and running the football sets up play action and opens up everything else.

    • steven on said:

      you are absolutely right, the offensive line does need a upgrade. We did draft a tackle from Wisconsin by the name of Wagner and i have seen him play and he can hold his own so i say give him a shot at right tackle especially if they are planning on resigning Monroe. You deffinitely resign Darryl Smith and let him start next to A. Brown in the middle. Find a way to keep Jacoby Jones as our returner and 4th receiver. Author Jones is gone. Resign Pitta on a nice 3 year deal. Find a veteran center who can anchor the line and make proper protection calls but the way i see it, there will be a big name gone from this team as a way to open up cap room in order improve the team.

  11. Anon on said:

    TE Dallas Clark – Bye! Next man up, Furstenburg
    NT Terrence Cody – B Williams is better
    TE Ed Dickson – Gone, draft a blocking TE late
    CB Corey Graham – Must stay
    DT Arthur Jones – Must stay
    WR Jacoby Jones – Mid-round pick trade?
    S James Ihedigbo – Gone, with Corey extended I want to see Webby at FS (Elam to SS)
    S Jeromy Miles – Gone
    OT Eugene Monroe – Must stay
    OT Michael Oher – Gone, how can teams like GB find functional linemen in the 4th round and we can’t?
    TE Dennis Pitta – Must stay
    RB Bernard Scott – Gone, late round flyer replacement
    LB Daryl Smith – Must stay

    CUT – J McClain, Gradkowski, Shipley, Castillo.
    O-line of Monroe, K.O., mid-round C, Yanda, mid-round RT. Man block system!
    DRAFT – BPA, but WR.

    • CJ34 on said:

      Another one of the future brilliant GM’s of the NFL. *sarcasm* What reason would you switch a very good CB to safety in the prime of his career? The answer is….you would never ever switch them to safety. CB’s are infinitely more valuable then safeties are. Webb will not be moved, at least not until he gets older.

  12. JRock on said:

    Coaching
    Harbarugh has made a lot of questionable calls since being hear. Getting rid of good players and it shows the next year how much we need them. Q was worth the money. He had a better year in San Fran than he ever did hear. We never used him right in the 1st place. Years ago I stringy disagreed with with letting stover go. We did not win the next year Bc of field goals and he was in the Super Bowl kicking for the colts. Letting mason go wen we could have kept him. At the time he was still a good security blanket for flacco. I bet he would have caught what lee Evans dropped. Our coach seems to get rid of talent Bc they may disagree with him. Or pulling a mutiny lol. You never see him go talk to flacco on the sideline. Like flacco is his own coach. Don’t get me wrong. We have been winning with him as our coach. But he fell into a great coaching gig. He had done a fine job a coaching. But the ravens are a first organization and like I said he fell into a great coaching gig.

    • steven on said:

      As far as the coaching staff is concerned, Castillo needs to go along with his zone blocking scheme. we have a bunch of maulers on the front line that just like to bury you so therefore the man on man blocking scheme works best for this team. With that Ray Rice and Pierce can just line up behind Big Leach and pound it down their aponents throats and develop an identity which they did not have in 2013.

  13. Jrock on said:

    Defense
    We put a good D on the field this year. They kept us in most games( besides Denver, the NFL F’d us over). For the better part of the season they had a great pass rush. Or secondary played good I thought( not as many ints we are used to buy look who we used to have back there) linebackers and d line played better as the year went on. Daryl smith is the ravens MVP this year. Good job stepping up for Ray. The defense kept is in most games. I will give them the excuse this year. Our offense didn’t produce first downs or points. If the offense played as good as the defense then we would be in the playoffs. I can’t sen much blame their way. Shut down megaton and was in the top 10 in most defensive categories for most of the year. They kept us in most games. Sometimes and good defense is a good offense. We need to match touchdowns for touchdowns. Offense can’t throw 22 ints or not convert on third down. They played good this year.

  14. Jrock on said:

    Offense.
    Was just bad. Starts with the 120 million$man. He needs to study flim. Pre snap reads are terrible. Cannot pick up the blitz or even read a defense for that matter. Good snap count. Bad foot work and pocket presence. Locks down on one reciever. Does not have very good accuracy. Tends to under throw or overthrow. Alot of careless ints this year. Does not seem to have a good timing with recovers not named pitta( elite qbs make the players around them better. Tom Brady dies not care who the reciever is. Lost his whole receiving corp and is still a 2 seed. He holds on to the ball to long. I rarely see flacc 3step drop and zip. He is in the pocket standing tall looking tall waiting for the wide open reciever. He does elevate his game is the final mins of the game. But would diont have to put ourselves in comeback mode if we excite during the game. The offense had bad team chemistry thus year. Starts with the qb. I think the wild cat comments were selfish. A few more wild cat plays we might be in the playoffs. We asked joe to get us there on his own and he can’t. Flacco was outplayed by every Ew we saw this year besides scuab and geno smith.
    Play calling is on a pop Warner level. Rice is a playmaker and needs to be used like sproles. Injury slowed him down but we rushed him to get back on the field and ran him straight up the middle every play. Seems like cam new how to utilize rice. Pierce is a good backup. When presented to starting nod he failed. Rice is what I know and 1 bad year won’t have me turn my back 4th and 29. Rice has been the offense for years. He is a pro bowler. Even picking up blocks and giving flacco a option out of the backfield. We need to get creative in how we use him. He ain’t the size of average rbs do continually running him up the middle is shooting itself in the foot.
    Oline saw a lot of injuries. They should have never put that trust in love boat. Bad personnel move giving him the money. Why trade a pick for Shipley? Why not bring in offensive line talent wen before we went on the playoff run the Oline was a problem. Why draft the Harvard te and not use him. Why not bring in a vet center. Why hire Juan? He was fired in Philly. Why did Philly move him to coach defense in the first place. That’s a red flag right there. Why trade away Q. He put up Better numbers this year than any previous with the ravens. We didn’t utilize him right. Our #1 reciever only had 65 receptions. Our offense needs to go to work over the offseason. No Disney land and commercials this year. Get back to playing like ravens. And the next man up. Enough with this “we just showed up”

  15. TRUTH on said:

    The Ravens have more cap space then this article leads on. I understand the conservative approach but the reality is the Ravens will enter free agency with an adjusted salary cap of about $128 million. And that’s assuming the salary cap is ‘firmly set’ at the reported 2.6% increase from last year ($123M in13′ to $126.3M in 14′). In all likely hood the more liberal projection that was reported of $127-128M will be the final cap league wide.

    Looking at the roster in-depth, its obvious we’re going to need a strong draft to address the core of our problems. I’m willing to bet Ozzie moves up quite a bit in the first few rounds to target some specific players that can come in right away and make a significant impact up front. Drafting offensive linemen early is going to be crucial. I think all-in-all we will release Jameel McClain and use the additional $3.2M saved in cap space to re-sign Daryl Smith. Vontae Leech seems to be the unavoidable cap casualty in all this because the value just isn’t there. With Sam Koch, the difference in a ‘proven commodity’ vs. a ‘cheaper alternative’ is only about $1m in cap space and I don’t think you risk that kind of consistency for such minimal return. So the punter stays.

    Left tackle – Im feeling pretty certain we lock up Eugene Monroe and maybe give him a long term contract similar to Joe Staley or Duane Brown. If we can re-sign him (and I believe we will being that he’s the main focal point on how we approach this offseason) im guessing his initial cap hit would be in the range of $4-7M this year. Which is very doable. Regardless – the key to our entire off season lies in the draft and how our front office approaches the offensive line. If they decide to go the route of moving Osemele to RT and letting Oher walk, they can address their left Guard on day 2 and use the 1st pick on an offensive playmaker like WR/TE. If they Draft Tackle in round 1 and leave Osemele at Guard, you’ll have more of an elite line upfront with the only question mark being Gino at center, which I believe will be resolved through an open competition at Training Camp against a vet.

    Pitta will either give us a discount or get the franchise tag but if he’s looking to cash in and starts commanding a Jimmy Graham/Gronkowski style contract it may be best to just let him walk and draft a TE early on. I know he’s one of Joe’s favorite targets but we cant invest serious $$ into TE right now given how much we’ve already invested at other positions. Which leads me to Haloti. He’s accounting for more cap space than Joe Flacco in both 2014 and 2015. He’s good but he’s no longer dominate enough to be paid best player on the team kind of money. Anything from Ngata in terms of contract extension/paycut will be a HUUGE bonus to what we’ll be able to accomplish in free agency but im not optimistic there. We really cant release him and trading him would be difficult so anything on that front is better than nothing. When it comes to Sizzle…something definitely needs to be done because he’s entering the final year of his contract and to lock him up now and have him finish his career in Baltimore helps us not only short term but also long term. If we let him play next season without a new contract… you know dam well he’s going to blow up and have another monster Defensive MVP type of year. Then its gonna be to late to throw a deal at him and we’re not going to be able to do jack-diddly but kick ourselves in the ass when we watch him sign with another team. Extending him not only locks up one of our best defenders it provides us with some extra cap flexibility to retain Arthur jones…but that’s a long shot. If not Art, we could use that extra $$ to go after a legitimate coverage Free Safety which would free up Elam to play his more natural position at SS. But yada yada im done typing.

    Oh, and the lack of playmaking ability on offense isn’t a WR problem – it’s an Offensive Coordinator problem. Hopefully, the Lions do us one more favor this year and rid us of Jim Caldwell. Anyway just my .02

  16. john on said:

    you should try to get jimmy graham he will be a free agent he will replace that big slot receiver that u missed when anquan boldin was here if no one get him

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