There is a ton of talk and speculation surrounding the future of Anquan Boldin these days. Clearly he was instrumental in the team’s successful playoff run hauling in 22 postseason catches for 380 yards and 4 scores during the four game stretch.
But apparently the team doesn’t think that productivity is worthy of a $7.5M cap figure. And that’s understandable.
So do the Ravens convince Q to take a pay cut or possibly extend him to ease the cap burden? For the moment it looks like Boldin will be a cap casualty but this is a very fluid situation.
And even if he is cut loose by 4PM on Tuesday, that doesn’t preclude the Ravens from re-signing him. The two sides could have a gentlemen’s understanding that will allow Q to determine his market value and if that number is south of his scheduled $6M salary, they may rekindle contract discussions.
Speaking of contract discussions, Pro Football Central has floated it out there that the Ravens and Dannell Ellerbe are close to a deal. The figure of $30M has been bouncing around in rumor central.
But where will Ellerbe land?
The bet here is that he chases the money and the Cleveland Browns are said to be in the hunt and they have plenty to spend.
Ellerbe responded to some criticisms and opinions sent his way via Twitter posting this:
“Free agency start Tuesday!!!! Y would I leave my team for a LITTLE MORE? Smh!!! And for everybody tweeting that, what do u consider a LITTLE MORE?”
Clearly Ellerbe is a player on the rise yet one has to question his durability. He missed 3 games in 2012 and only suited up 9 times in 2011. He struggled with injuries in college at Georgia as well and this coupled with some character concerns dropped him from a projected 2nd or 3rd round draft pick to the ranks of the undrafted.
Now that he’s ready to cash in on his short-term success teams need to be mindful of those character concerns. Has he matured enough to trust him with such a large investment? Will he be committed to the game and his conditioning after the bonus check clears?
Steve Bisciotti has often said that when you can get 80% of the production of a high-priced player for 20% of the cost, said high-priced player is vulnerable to salary cap trimmings. Two of the Ravens biggest cap numbers for 2013 and 2014 are those of Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata.
Suggs’ cap number in 2013 is $13.02M while Ngata’s is $11.5M. In 2014 Ngata’s figure swells to $16M while Suggs’ tumbles to $12.4M.
Both players underperformed in 2012 due to injuries. If their productivity doesn’t pick up significantly both of these No. 1 picks and Pro Bowlers could be in the cap casualty discussion. To shed Suggs after 2013 would save the team $7.8M in cap space but carry $4.6M in dead cap money. A Ngata release would save $8.5M and include $7.5M in dead payola.
Improving the depth and talent on the defensive line this offseason would go a long way towards the team’s sizeable investments in these two players.
One way to improve the D-Line and give position coach Clarence Brooks more talent in his rotations could arrive in the form of B level free agents. The Ravens have been successful finding value in that area, with acquisitions like Trevor Pryce, Justin Bannan and Cory Redding.
The Ravens will also look to fortify their defensive front in the draft and thanks to four compensatory picks (4th, 5th, 6th and 7th) the Ravens will have a total of 11 picks. It would not be surprising to see them move up in some rounds and sacrifice a pick or two. Keep in mind comp picks are not tradable.
The links below will explain how the Ravens landed those comp picks along with a great explanation of how the rookie salary cap works.