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” Cap that we compare the team’s total Cap charges (Cap numbers) against when determining a team’s available Cap space.
The final piece of this equation, the incentive adjustment, is usually not known until right before the new league year begins and is often hard to estimate because the amount of incentives contained in players’ contracts are very often not reported.
The incentive adjustment is a combination of the unearned 2013 Likely To Be Earned (LTBE) incentives and the earned 2013 Not Likely To Be Earned (NLTBE) incentives. This adjustment is necessary because LTBE incentives count against the Cap in that year and if unearned are credited back to the team in the following year, while NLTBE incentives don’t count against that year’s Cap, but if earned, are charged to the team in the following year.
So, the net of these adjustments for 2013 will either operate as a credit or charge against the 2014 Cap.
Unfortunately, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, the total adjustment for the Ravens is a debit of $2,945,498. This number includes the $504K workout bonus charge, so the incentive charge for the Ravens is $2,441,498. This number is the highest in the league and likely reflects the Ravens efforts to maneuver around a very tight 2013 Cap.
As mentioned above, it is hard to estimate who these charges were for, but it is likely that at least part of these came from NLTBE incentives for OT Bryant McKinnie and LB Jameel McClain. McKinnie had some weight clauses and playing time incentives in his contract that he may have earned before being traded and McClain had some NLTBE incentives included in his deal when he agreed to take a pay cut back in late August.
If this report is accurate, that means the Ravens will have almost $2.5M less in Cap space than anticipated and could go a long way toward explaining why the Ravens’ brass was not interested in using the $11.654M franchise tag on OT Eugene Monroe.
So, at this time (assuming they tender all of their ERFAs), the Ravens are still in very good shape, with approximately $18.5M in available Cap Space (using an estimate of $850K for Albert McClellan’s Cap number, since the terms of his 2 year deal have yet to be disclosed), albeit $2.5M less in Cap space to use than originally hoped.
Still, given that the Ravens have been so tight against the Cap over the last several years that $18.5M represents a lot of flexibility for the Ravens as they look to upgrade their roster……starting today at 4:00 p.m.